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5 People Who Changed the World Without Formal Education

Nearly everyone thinks that to be educated, one must attend a formal school, except for religious education, where students can learn from religious scholars at home. This belief has led to many being illiterate or semi-literate, as they have been programmed by society to accept that you need a diploma or other degree to be considered educated.

This article will to shatter this belief. In fact, I am going to drop a nuclear weapon on it. There is more than enough practical and historical proof to debunk people who secretly grade others according to educational qualifications “many” “many” times over. These people believe themselves to be better than one who hasn’t studied in the four walls of a classroom for a higher level degree.

We’ll look at a brief description of people who rocked the world without going through any or a great deal of formal education. We’ll also know what it takes to obtain a formal education, if formal education is necessary at all, and if the current global education system actually improves or hampers knowledge acquisition.

5 People Who Changed the World Without Formal Education

So much about our education system. Let’s see how these five famous people broke societal norms to become some of the most accomplished scientists and inventors in World History.

  1. Thomas Edison: this guy was expelled from school because his teachers thought he was too slow to learn. After his expulsion, Thomas studied at home from his mother. She taught him to read and write. He worked hard and experimented a lot, until he invented the light buld, motion picture camera, and stock sticker, which the world relies on today.
  2. The Wright Brothers: this people invented a flying machine and flew the first aircraft. These great scientists never completed secondary school. They were expelled. Orville Wright once said, “there is little hope for advance if we believe that reality is fixed and only accepted truths are true”.
  3. Bill Gate: you’ve probably heard of him. Several times richest man in the world. He dropped out of Harvard, only to later build one of the most successful multi-national corporations of our time.
  4. Larry Ellison: he is the founder of Oracale, and once the 9th richest man on earth. In a speech to Yale graduates, Ellison was reported to have said, “Diplomas are for losers”. He is one of the billionaire college dropouts of our time.
  5. Michael Dell: yes, the founder of Dell Inc. he dropped out of college at age 19, but managed to build a mulit-national tech company. In fact, this article was written on a Dell laptop.

Others include: Steve Jobs, Paul Allen, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.

What Does it Take to Get a Formal Education?

This is a question many can answer in part or full, straight from instinct. You need to put in years of studies in school, from primary school, to PhD. which is about 21 years. Your education is divided into school terms or sessions of two or three. Generally, in Nigeria, there are three terms in the primary and secondary schools. Each term comprises a couple of months with differences of two to five weeks between respective terms. Students have holidays between all three terms.

Formal education usually refers to any planned, structured learning event (s). Common examples are the entirety of grade school, university, and even new hire training at your place of employment. Informal education is anything and everything else and usually where most learning really happens.

According to educationists there are three basic types of education. Formal, Non formal and Informal education.

Formal education: This is the carefully structured education given in an institution. These institutions are schools, technical colleges, universities etc. with the growing complexities of the society special institutions were established to impart new knowledge, attitudes and skills. Syllabus, time table, a set of teachers are essential features of the formal educational system. Usually the formal school is characterized by three levels, namely primary level, secondary level and tertiary level. The formal system of education goes hand to hand with social, economic, political and cultural needs of a particular country.

Non-formal education: It is usually provided to out-of-school children and adolescents as well as young adults who, for some reason, did not have an opportunity to attend school. Others dropped out before a sustainable literacy level was achieved. It includes vocational education, adult literacy training, agriculture, family planning, aesthetic activities, lifelong learning etc. There is more flexibility as to the places and methods of learning. The places may be community centres, temples, school buildings after school hours or vacation etc.

Informal education: This may be the oldest educational system. Informal education takes place outside schools and is mediated by resources people in the community. In the case of informal education there is no attempt at structuring it. Much of the learning that goes in are almost unintentional. Here the child learns from his family, friends, experience and environment.

Informal education is not associated with awards and certificates. But its effects tend to be more permanent, because informal education takes its own course, at its own pace by its own means throughout each person’s life. Informal education is a life-long process. The agents of informal education are home, neighbours, peer groups, societies and mass media. This form of education continues to add to a person’s knowledge, attitudes and skills throughout his entire life time – one would noticed that from the ancient times, the most forceful contributing factor for man’s achievement has been the informal education.

Is Formal Education Really Necessary?

No. Formal education is not necessary for technological, scientific or social development. We will prove it by studying the lives of some scientists who really changed the world with their inventions despite not graduating from any university. Some of those scientist never even completed secondary school. In fact, some did not even complete primary school.

That is not to say that formal institutions should be dismantled. They will be helpful, but if wrongly used (just like it is today), it will constrain rather than disseminate knowledge. Governments should find ways to facilitate home learning such that a child can learn from anywhere and anybody, provided they get the correct knowledge. The government can set up facilities for testing and verifying people’s expertise in any field should they the person need any government-approved certification as proof of their capability. This way, a lot of people will get primary education without having to leave their villages. And a lot of people will also get primary education even when they are adults, without having to sign up with any Adult Education institution. Many people are shy of joining such Adult Institutions, especially when they involve wearing uniforms.

The challenge could be setting up labs for teaching students since individual teachers cannot have well-established labs. This can be overcome, and be even better off than the labs we have in schools and universities. It is not the aim of this article to discuss how such labs and research institutions be set up, but it is a challenge we can overcome with a little determination.

Finally, some people believe their degree already gave them some kind of special status with which to snob others. But chances are, you cannot do anything with your degree unless the government or some company employs you. that only means you haven’t mastered your profession well enough to produce something that people are willing to pay for and make you rich. 90% of the blame lies in our education system, and the earlier we revolutionize the education system, the better for us and our future generations.

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