Bicentennial (4): Education, human capital is most important
The most important form of wealth is human capital, specifically, knowledge, effort, talent, intelligence… this is the only thing that counts.
For centuries, it has been demonstrated that a country’s development level isn’t closely related to its natural resources. For example, Japan, Sweden, and Finland have few natural resources, but they are very developed countries; while Nigeria has tremendous amounts of oil but its Human Development Index leaves much to be desired. Education is, by definition, the way to develop the potential of human capital.
In Mexico, we have failed on this issue, from more than one vantage point. The Bicentennial is a good time to reflect and seek improvement in this area.
We all struggled for the independence of the Mexico. But this is of little use if we do not provide the opportunity to each of the country’s citizens to grow individually.
To do so, we need to guarantee access to first-class and comprehensive education for all those who value it, and to provide other types of opportunities for those who might not seek a formal education.
In Mexico, education has traditionally been classified on three levels: first, second, and third. On the first rung is science, technology, mathematics, chemistry, etc.
On the second level of this arbitrary classification are the humanities, for example, history, literature, and psychology. Economics and accounting (which is what I majored in at the Tec), for some curious reason are midway between the first and the second rung.
Finally, on the third level, which traditionally is looked down upon, are the arts, such as music, dance, painting and sculpture, among many others.
We have to consider whether we should rank and categorize education this way, or if on the contrary, we should place greater emphasis on the arts and humanities, without, of course, neglecting the sciences, while we form well-balanced individuals.
Today, the world is opening up to infinite possibilities and learning should be a continuous process. Therefore, education should be integral, ranging from the arts, philosophy and literature, to mathematics, the sciences and history.
There is no better recipe for success than to do what we most like to do. The basic function of schools should be precisely to open the horizons of students to help them find their calling. This involves striking a balance between what we most like to do and what we are good at, which is traditionally known as vocation.
Once you find your calling, you don’t need to worry about money, since it will arrive as part of the bargain when you are doing precisely what you like to do. And if doesn’t come along, it’s no big deal because you are doing what you like to do.
Those who are only after money will be condemned to be very unhappy. The only thing that provides you with true happiness is achievement and the satisfaction of doing the things that you like to do well. Education should help us achieve this objective.
Two hundred years after independence, we should strive for our freedom to lead us to become better human beings, and to train hundreds of thousands of excellent Mexicans across the nation who will illuminate our future. Only this way will Mexico achieve enormous wealth. Our country deserves a better educational model.