A good education is the basis for a number of important life skills. It is not only a foundation for knowledge, but also the development of social skills, civic participation, and independence.
Here are 16 reasons school is important.
- School facilitates learning
- School provides opportunity to the poor and disadvantaged
- School teaches personal responsibility
- Students develop reading and writing skills
- School opens up career options
- Helps students develop a sense of self
- School prepares students for the future
- School teaches critical thinking and problem solving
- School teaches collaboration
- A functioning education system benefits the economy
- School instils a sense of cultural and national identity
- School exposes children to a diversity of views
- Teaches conflict management skills
- It leads to higher average incomes
- It helps build social capital
- It provides babysitting (Yep – read this one.)
The educational system, with all its flaws and detriments, is and forever will remain one of the most important human endeavors. The rest of this article will explain the top reasons school is crucial to learning.
Why is School Important?
1. It Facilitates Learning
The fundamental purpose of education is to ensure the members of a society have a basic education. As a result, this should also be listed as the first reason school is important.
When you go to school, you’re educated by people who are trained specifically in how to maximize learning. These people – teachers – will create lessons that are at just the right education level for students, so the students are challenged but not given tasks that are too hard that they give up.
The teachers will also, ideally, create lessons that are engaging and entertaining, which helps people to learn.
Furthermore, a curriculum is used in the education system to ensure the student gets a thorough and wide-ranging education.
Combined, these structures within the education system enable and empower learners – and we can see: if you did not go to school, you surely wouldn’t know nearly as much as you do now!
2. It Provides Opportunity to All
Another important part of school is that it provides an opportunity for all people. If we didn’t have free public education, then people who couldn’t afford an education would not get the opportunity to get ahead in life.
School therefore forms an important function in enabling social mobility (which is the capacity for people to move from poor to wealthy, or working-class to middle-class and even higher).
While schools may never quite achieve perfection in regard to the ideal of “equal opportunity”, school still remains an important part of giving all students an opportunity to learn essential skills so they can succeed in life.
3. It Teaches Personal Responsibility
School helps students practice personal responsibility every time they’re given a deadline to meet, a project to complete, or an independent learning task.
When students leave school and enter the workforce, they will need to apply the responsibility they have learned during their education—completing assignments on time, managing group projects, and maintaining an ethical standard—to their occupation.
As such, schools often play a significant role in assigning students responsibilities and giving them the duty to uphold those responsibilities in a timely manner.
4. It Develops Reading and Writing Skills
Reading and writing are two of the most crucial life skills that we all use on a daily basis. It’s essential to communication in businesses and personal life. If everyone in society couldn’t read or write, communication would be much harder, and we’d all be poorer for it.
School demonstrates its importance in that it not only teaches students how to read and write at an early age, but it also continues to develop those skills throughout their entire educational journey.
Even fields outside of language studies rely on reading and understanding communications, as well as effective writing. Thus, these basic skills are instilled and reinforced in school on a daily basis.
5. It Opens Up Careers
In the long term, one of the most important feats of schooling is that it opens up career opportunities for students.
Whether it’s the fundamental skills learned in high school to an industry-specific degree at a university, there are countless ways that school prepares students for occupational careers.
Of course, the most relevant accomplishment is instilling the necessary knowledge students need to perform their jobs effectively. Many jobs require prerequisite knowledge, and school creates the ideal environment to glean that knowledge and then apply it to an occupation.
6. Helps Students Develop a Sense of Self
A lot of students will struggle in some areas of school, and that’s completely normal. Struggling through difficult subjects (and achieving success in others) helps you to learn what you’re naturally good at, and what you don’t particularly enjoy.
Without a holistic, wide and learning what subjects appeal to them of the most difficult aspects of being a student, especially in college-level courses.
Throughout this process, students will learn their niche skills and develop an understanding of how they process information, a self-recognition that is vitally important in considering what skillset they want to pursue.
7. It Prepares Students for the Future
Good schools are designed to be future-facing. They think about the challenges and opportunities of the future and make sure students are prepared for them.
We can see, for example, that many schools were very eager in the early 2000s to bring computers and the internet into classrooms in order to ensure student establish necessary digital literacy skills. This would position them well for the jobs of the 21st Century.
Similarly, most jobs of the 21st Century are cooperative. As a result, schools often emphasize the importance of compromise, teamwork skills, and team projects.
8. It Teaches Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills are necessary for an educated, self-governing, and functioning society.
For example, we need to be able to understand the scientific method and why science works – or else people will still be walking around believing in witchcraft.
Similarly, critical thinking is vital for evaluating the veracity of information, developing solutions to problems, and communicating with team members effectively.
Individuals who learn to think critically are generally more self-sufficient and thrive in high-demand environments where they are expected to participate in the problem-solving process.
9. It Teaches Social Skills
Schools are the key spaces in our early lives where we meet and interact with other people. Resultantly, it’s also the forum for learning social skills.
Whether it’s group projects, classroom participation, or just the sense of camaraderie that comes with having classmates, school fosters a mindset of collaboration with other people.
After all, students in the same class are learning from the same fount of knowledge. They often need to collaborate or participate in class activities to understand how to retain and apply the information.
Not only is this skill useful for retaining information more effective, but it also has merit in the workforce, where team communication is vital to the success of a business.
10. It Benefits the Economy
Education in general benefits the economy a great deal. It gives people the skills to participate productively in the workforce.
The more skilled a national workforce, the more they can get access to higher-earning jobs in the creative and service industries. A highly educated population boosts economic growth (Jorgenson & Fraumeni, 2020).
As a result, societies tend to see schools not as a sunk cost expense, but an investment. Social investment of resources into education for the next generation enables the society and its economy to flourish into the future.
11. School instils a sense of cultural and national identity
Many nations explicitly teach cultural and national identity in their schools. For example, American schools teach the pledge of allegiance. But even if it’s not explicitly taught, it is implicitly taught.
We have a word for the implicit teaching that occurs in school. It’s the ‘hidden curriculum’. This refers to all the subtle things we learn in school – like manners, fashion sense, and of course a sense of community identity (Alsubaie, 2015).
When we spend time with other children in the playground, we develop a sense of belonging – we are similar. We are part of the same tribe. We are one nation.
12. School exposes children to a diversity of views
If you were only homeschooled by mom and dad, you wouldn’t be exposed to alternative worldviews.
School has built-in diversity of views: from fellow school children to the diversity of views taught throughout a balanced curriculum.
Sometimes (but not always), this is exactly why people homeschool their children. Many people want to raise their children to only be exposed to a certain brand of religion or a certain political ideology.
Of course, there are many other reasons to homeschool your child – such as because you don’t like mainstream schooling teaching styles.
Nevertheless, if you were to homeschool your children, you would have to try very hard to ensure your children were exposed to a range of different types of people with different viewpoints.
13. Teaches conflict management skills
Playing in the schoolground can get rough. In fact, one possible downside of schooling is that you’ll be exposed to some cruelty from time to time from other children.
But through the adversity that children face when playing with other children in the schoolyard, they learn skills in managing conflict, engaging with people they disagree with, and developing street smarts.
Of course, we want to keep all children safe and comfortable at all times. But at the same time, realistically, children at schools will come across times when they have to deal with other kids they don’t like, and this is a learning opportunity for them that they may not get if they don’t spend so much time at school with other kids.
14. It leads to higher average incomes
Statistically speaking, incomes are higher among people with higher levels of education.
For example, the US Government found that men with bachelor’s degrees earn $900,000 per year more on average than men without bachelor’s degrees. That’s a lot of money.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t very successful people without a high education level. But it’s to say that on average you’re more likely to earn more if you’re more educated.
And this makes sense.
For example, if you have a high education level then you’ll be able to go for more competitive jobs in more specialist fields, and you’ll be a stronger candidate in job interviews.
15. It helps build social capital
If you have high social capital, you have a lot of social contacts such as friends and colleagues. If you have low social capital, you don’t know many people.
School is great for developing fundamental social capital. You meet people at school who might be able to get you in touch with someone who can give you a job. Or, they might tell you about an opportunity you didn’t know about before.
Simply: meeting people opens doors. And school is a great place to meet people.
In fact, if you go to an elite university, you have a great chance of meeting people who will be able to get you a good job after school (Martin, 2009), or who may have great contacts with the top-paying firms that hire university graduates.
16. It Provides Babysitting
Controversially, school holds a hidden value: it looks after children, which frees up parents to return to the workforce.
With more parents in the workforce, the economy can grow, and national productivity can increase.
It’s one reason why many countries now fund preschool education.
The reason this is a controversial point is that calling a teacher a babysitter is condescending and belittles the value of their job.
Of course, teachers are more than babysitters. They are professional educators – and often, highly-trained and highly-skilled at what they do.
Nevertheless, it remains true that a secondary value of education is that it frees parent up to participate in the economy as workers.
School is an institution of learning, first and foremost, serving the primary purpose of conveying information from the source to the listener.
While the model for traditional schooling has changed over the years, its importance in society has not.
Aside from providing quintessential knowledge that students need to excel in the outside world, school also instills a sense of responsibility and capability in its students.
Related Debate Topics
- Reasons School Should Start Later
- Reasons School Should Start Earlier
- Reasons Collete Athletes Should be Paid
Alsubaie, M. A. (2015). Hidden Curriculum as One of Current Issue of Curriculum. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(33): 125 – 128.
Jorgenson, D. W., & Fraumeni, B. M. (2020). Investment in education and US economic growth. In The US savings challenge (pp. 114-149). Routledge.
Martin, N. D. (2009). Social capital, academic achievement, and postgraduation plans at an elite, private university. Sociological Perspectives 52(2): 185-210.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.