Why I Think Formal Education Is Overrated

Why I Think Formal Education Is Overrated

Why I think Formal Education is Overrated.

I’ve been meaning to write on this for a while and I think it’s finally time to do so. I’ve had this argument with very few friends of mine. Some see the sense in it, some not really and others flat out don’t.

This post just airs my opinion. I’m not telling or forcing you to agree with me. I’ll just be stating my observations and opinions and you are more than welcome to state yours at the comment section below. Without further a do, let’s get started.

What really is Education?

Education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

Solomon Ortiz said that education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students.

I agree. The only problem I have is with the society exalting formal education as the most important form of education. That is to say, one cannot be anything in life without a certificate.

In my opinion, formal education is merely propaganda. Here’s why I think so:
Ask anyone around or do a research for yourself, you’ll find out that owning a school is one of the most lucrative businesses all over the world. Therefore, in order to sell, a need must be created.

How do we get people to send their kids to school? We tell them it is a necessity and without it they can’t become anything in life. But in reality is this really true?

Read also: Feed the People With Lies

Can we say for a fact that everyone who has gone through this form of education is truly successful because of the formal education they participated in?

In my opinion, formal education is more of a burden than a help but the media and a select few have made it seem like a way of redemption out of poverty and sadly, the masses have bought these lies. Why did I call it a burden? Listen.

Think of every family you know of. Think about how hard they work to pull in resources. Some may have two to three jobs and may barely spend time with their families. Why do you think they work so hard?

Is it because of what to eat and drink? Or mortgages? Nope. School fees! Some parents even go to the extent of borrowing just to pay their children’s fees— mainly because they are trying to secure a good future for their kids (as they’ve been told).

Now, the kids go through with elementary/primary school, high/secondary school, College/University all these with the hope of securing a better future and gbam! What do they meet? The reality. Everything they’ve been taught in school is outdated because companies keep updating their staff.

Not only that, the requirement for the job description is a minimum of two years experience (some five years). How do graduates have any experience if they’ve never worked? Don’t forget that there are bills to be paid and also student loans that need to be settled (if the person in a question applied for such).

After many job searches and rejections, the person who has studied psychology now makes animal feed. The lawyer now works as a salesman. The guy who studied business administration is currently a technician. The lady who studied mass communication is now a farmer. Someone who studied engineering now drives a tricycle.

Do you feel me?

These people end up working in fields they least expected they’d be in. All the funds spent on that certificate? Gone! To know you did not need that much money to get this current job. Without formal education, you could have had it and done it just fine.

But we lie to overselves in the bid to console ourselves by saying that whatever we learnt in school has made us better in our current fields! Bullshit!

How has psychology helped the young man in his feed business? Oh! Wait! I know. He speaks to the grains of maize before milling so as to understand their irrational behaviour.


Like a twist, here’s the irony. The old man who has never had a degree, has a business which fetches him hundreds of thousands a month. That market woman who sells vegetables has two houses. A drop out currently pulls in millions a month from making YouTube videos. Let me ask again. Is formal education really worth the hype?

Agreed, you may argue that there are many people who have graduated and have gotten lucrative jobs— very true. Alright then, compare the percentage of those who end up working with their certificates and compare it to those who don’t and compare it to those who want to but can’t. The difference is very clear.

Plus these days, if we want to be truthful, jobs are gotten mostly based on connection (who you know and/or what you can offer). It’s just what it is.

At the end of the day, my point is this: let’s stop emphazing on the need to get formal education. Let’s stop putting down those without degrees or certificates as if they are worthless. Some people would rather not go to school, they’d prefer to do other things like learn skills— let them.

It’s not a crime to not have a formal education. It is not a disease. Don’t let poor people or people with a different vision feel miserable when there are other options.

Let’s be real—formal education does not and cannot erradicate poverty. The system itself is the reason for poverty.

You can’t make people spend so much money on a system that most times offers unemployment. If they had invested that money in something else like a business, they’d have yielded more profit. They’d have expanded.

I know a man who pulls in thousands of naira on a daily basis. He has no degree but he’s really good at what he does— thus several customers. Yet, he has a low self esteem because according to him, people look down on him because he has no certificate. What?! The funny part, is that he’s actually better off than most of them.

It’s amazing how people see others doing well and just because they don’t have certificates they are told to go back to school. Infact what annoys me more is when they say one should just have it even if they won’t use it. In other words, spend your money on a thing that is most likely not really going to offer what you desire— at least you have it.

Wait. Hold on. What is the use of formal education again? Because I figured that at the end of the day, we are all passionate about one thing— how not to be broke. So if I’m already meeting that need, why should I invest in something that I have less than 10% positivity about? How does this even make sense?

It’s funny how the certificate is worshipped even when it doesn’t yield the result we are looking for. Wow! Propaganda is a very powerful tool. Powerful brainwashing.

Please note that I’m not supporting illiteracy. I believe everyone should know how to read and write but not everyone needs to have a degree. A degree is not that important because in the end, formal education is highly overrated and a certificate is just a piece of paper— your skill is what makes you relevant.

I could go on and on but I think it’s best to just end it here. Again, do what you think it’s best for you without looking down on anyone who is doing otherwise.

Share your thoughts.

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Viano Dee

Non-niche blogger. Poet. Songwriter. A hardcore romantic. Her write-ups could take any form: poetry, articles, and even songs in ways that'll inspire you, resonate with you, or tell a story while keeping you both informed and entertained.

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I completely agree! Not everyone is suited for a formal education. Not all formal educations are profitable. 

Reply to  Kayla

My point exactly, Kayla. You get it.


Interesting. Formal education has its use though there are aspects of it that is overrated.

Cindy Gelpi

As someone who homeschooled their children until third grade, I agree with aspects of your article, but do think formal education has its value. We were lucky that we had a good public school in our community, so the cost wasn’t that high for us once we did put them into the school system. I like the fact that you question formal education as I do think it is not for everyone and many children could quite well without a formal education but with the guidance of a conscientious adult. 


I totally agree with you, Money count it all. 

Subhashish Roy

I feel formal education has it’s benefits in shaping us to become professional moving forward by instilling a sense of discipline in the way we lead our life. It also provides us the options to choose our interest areas. The degrees are just a bonus.

Katherine Gamble

I respect your stance on education. We live in a society were everyone feels so pressured to attend college and I think it should be strictly up to the individual not a norm. I benefited from formal education and I plan to continue educating myself when I return to school next year. However, I agree with a lot of your points, especially about the point regarding how expensive school is and how some people never end up in those fields. Education is for everyone, not formal education. 


One of the big bonuses of formal education is the socialization and learning how to make and defend a point/position. That said, so much of this has gone by the wayside with so many people using social media. It’s a generational change. What I dislike about formal education is the price – agreed! It really should be something we support versus make so hard! 

Betty Koshland

I agree, skills is what makes us relevant. We have different perspective when it comes to education but what matters is that we are passionate in what we are doing. Thanks for sharing.

Reply to  Betty Koshland

That’s true Betty. 


I think we all need a good education but life lessons and experiences matter the most as they are what helps you along in life x

Reply to  StressedMum

Exactly. We all need good education but I don’t think it should be limited to formal education.


Hahaha! i totally agree with your thoughts yet when a senior person hires they look for formal education. I think education helps you explore more and does add to your overall point of view but it doesnt mean that someone who was best in studies has brains and skills

Tochukwu Precious Eze

There definitely is something to be said about the amount of knowledge you have from formal education versus the experience and/or willingness to do the work that needs to be done when it comes to success!


Very true Sonja.


While I don’t think formal education is overrated, I do think its been forced on to people as the only option. It has benefits and pitfalls just like anything else in this world.


I do agree with most of what you’ve stated. I believe that’s why you and I should be proactive and fighting to keep homeschooling as an option, even if we currently are the ones with children at home.  I was forced to public school my older two because I thought it was the only option I had. I love how Hopper handled Mike

Reply to  Tami

Honestly, Tami. People should not be recognized only by their certificates. Education takes different forms— it shouldn’t be limited to formal education.

Yomi Spontaneous

I tend to agree, sometimes the field does not require a formal educate but more life experience. 


Exactly, Jen.


I couldn’t agree more!!! Why nobody cares if you are naturally good in something? For example, my husband has been working in his field for over 8 years but the company doesn’t want promote him just because he doesn’t have master degree. What about all the hard work he put in ;( 

Reply to  Gena

I feel your pain Gena. This is something that upsets me too. Why overlook people who have the technical know how and experience just because they have no certificate? It’s painful and annoying.


While I don’t believe that college is for everyone (I have 2 sons that went into a trade profession instead), I do think that its necessary for several fields. For example, my husband is a scientist and it’s not possible to learn all the things that he need to know with a formal education.

Annemarie LeBlanc

All my kids are college degree holders and I made sure they received the best education I can afford. However, it is true that formal education teaches you the basics, it is only when you start employment that you acquire the skills you need to push your career forward. 

Yomi Spontaneous

So true! Formal education has been overrated and what makes it even worse is the fact we’ve been taught to give our all to education as the key to life yet education is their to spark our minds, passions and hearts to finding what’s our purpose in life. It’s time we changed perspectives about education. 


Exactly sis. Education can take any form. Shouldn’t be limited to formal education.

Brian Cicioni

The degree (or piece of paper) can open doors which are not open to those without it. With that said, I think I learned far more through travel and experience than I did in the classroom. 

David Elliott

I do think there should always be other options.  And people in different places should be aware of other options.

Reply to  David Elliott

Exactly my point, David. And not only that, they should have access to the same opportunities provided they have what it takes.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x