Is Education an “investment?”

Someone posted job advertisement on “PhD in Pakistan” Facebook page (seriously, don’t we have something better to do, eh?) highlighting that a driver’s salary is equivalent to that of a researcher. Of course, others (educated people) jumped in to show their concern about the injustice.  I wrote, ” I see it as valuing the professions equally. Every profession requires different set of skills and knowledge. Though I’m educated but I consider myself unfit for other jobs. That said, in my opinion, requiring less education or no education does not mean that those professions are less demanding or should be given less respect or salary. The job of cleaners, gate keepers, drivers, plumbers, etc is as challenging as teachers, doctors, and lawyers.”

Another person in reply to my comment said that education is an investment for future and why would she invest in her son’s education if he would earn the same amount of money as an illiterate driver, or a plumber, or a cleaner. She also added that “education is the only key for upward mobility for middle class.” The comment reminded me of my first assignment as a grad student and also made me think about my own perspective about education.

The idea of education as investment has a negative connotation for me. It makes education equals to money-making. Education is much more than that. It means to have a whole new perspective about life, about the world, about the people, about the happenings around you, and most importantly about your own self. Education makes you a better human, which is way better than money-making machine. I earn less money than any of my siblings, yet education was/is my priority.

But alas, as I wrote in my first assignment “Commoditification of Education” in which I argued that education has become a commodity available in the market. People can purchase it  or invest in it depending on the money they have, people who can’t are most welcome to window shop. I also disagree with her about education being the key for the middle class to move upward. When did that happen? When did education become the property of the middle class? Isn’t it the basic right of all humans? Don’t cleaners, plumbers, drivers, etc. want their kids to get education and move upward in the society?

Courtesy: Google Images

Courtesy: Google Images

Yes, education is the future,  everyone’s future!