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23 Reasons Education is Important

 , October 11, 2021 updated on May 15, 2023
Education is the process of acquiring knowledge and experience, particularly in a formal environment such as a school. This is considered important both as a personal choice and as a social and economic policy whereby it is common for nations, cities, families and individuals to invest significant resources into education. The following are common reasons that education is viewed as important followed by a few potential counterarguments.

Life Skills

The acquisition of life skills such as language literacy and basic mathematics. This is required for full participation in society, culture, community and the economy and is therefore a critical element of the human experience that all people deserve as a human right.


Humanity has built up an extremely large pool of knowledge that has immense value in enriching the lives of individuals and the future of societies. For example, learning about the past helps us to avoid repeating painful mistakes.


Learning how to do things. For example, learning how to automate work and solve problems with computer code.


Schools can be a place to socialize and acquire social skills. This can include the process of dealing with conflict and people you find difficult to build social resilience.


Schools may provide cooperative exercises that give people experience working as a team.

Free Expression

The experience of expressing your opinion or creativity and engaging in processes such as public speaking, debate and peer review. This is a critical process that helps us to understand different perspectives and gain experience influencing, arguing, critiquing and handling criticism.

Cultural Competence

Where schools are diverse, they provide an opportunity to interact with people from different backgrounds. This can be stimulating and allows individuals to build cultural competence.

Cultural Capital

Cultural capital is the ability to thrive in a culture. This comes with experience and schools are often a social environment that can help to generate cultural capital. For example, the culture of high status universities may be heavily connected to the culture of high status institutions and firms in a society. Beyond this, schools may offer a means to engage the culture surrounding an art, science, sport, hobby, profession or place.


Gaining experience with competition in areas such as grades, social processes and sports. It could be argued that life is fundamentally competitive such that immersion in competitive environments helps students to thrive in life.


Schools often provide an opportunity to play with others. It is a right of children to have time to play and this is critical to their development.

Quality of Life

In some cases, schools play an important role in the quality of life of an individual. For example, a child who receives much of their nutrition from a school meals program or a university student whose social life is centered around their school.


Opportunities to identify and cultivate talents. For example, a student who discovers a passion for journalism after joining a school newspaper.


At its best, education builds passion for learning, debate, cooperation, research, development and creative processes.


Learning to discover information, design research and conduct experiments to create new knowledge.

Lifelong Learning

Learning how to learn and acquiring a lifelong habit of curiosity, debate, research and discovery.

Economic Opportunity

Education is a basis for professional competence, productivity and creative output. In an advanced economy, many jobs require extensive knowledge and experience. Education is a common way for individuals to increase their earnings prospects, job satisfaction and improve other aspects of their career such as working conditions.


The following arguments could be used to qualify or counter the position that education is important.

Socioeconomic Exclusion

The argument that some education systems are designed to preserve the status of an elite. For example, high status universities that are expensive or that provide special paths to acceptance for the wealthy and well-connected such as escalator schools.

Pay For Privilege

The argument that high status universities are essentially charging for entry into the economic system. For example, firms that will only hire from high status schools such that these schools act as a tollgate on the path to a job.


The argument that the excessive student debt generated by some education systems represent a type of modern debt-bondage whereby you must first take on a debt to get a job and then contribute much of your salary to pay down this debt.

Industrial Complex

The argument that some education systems are aligned to the needs of corporations that want docile employees they view as interchangeable and standardized. For example, a focus on standardized testing and convergent thinking over other types of thinking such as creative thinking, critical thinking, design thinking, systems thinking or strategic thinking.

Low Quality

The argument that some education systems offer a poor quality education that is stark and uninspiring such that they damage things such as a love of learning, play and creation.


An unfortunate situation where an education system or school acts as a communication channel of a political entity, industry, corporation or ideology.

Opportunity Cost

Education has an opportunity cost whereby any time, energy, money and other resources you put into it could have been invested elsewhere. In this context, it could be argued that a high cost education isn't important for everyone where people may have other directions or ways to obtain a worthy profession and meaningful experiences. This is particularly true where education is high cost or essentially a type of social status as opposed to a robust learning environment.
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