What Does It Mean to Be Well-Educated?

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Sarahsez
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Does it mean you have to have a university degree to be considered educated?

What is it exactly about uni that merits such a title in western society? So many people stress how their families value education. But what does that even mean? I wonder what factors actually make somebody educated or intellectual in society terms? And I'm also interested to hear what factors do you use (or at least think you do) personally to judge a person's education level?

Well, for starters,I believe it’s a lot broader than simply being prepared for the work force.
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Paccmann
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Having the knowledge. See without knowledge. You're not educated at all. An educated person is someone who knows their stuff. Like being an expert in what they say. Having the confidence in their speech.


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El Salvador
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Eastern societies value education more.
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gabriellakhan
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Yeah I'd say people with a university degree are well educated. Well educated is different from clever, smart and being knowledgeable. People can be those things without being university degree level educated.
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Underscore__
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(Original post by gabriellakhan)
Yeah I'd say people with a university degree are well educated. Well educated is different from clever, smart and being knowledgeable. People can be those things without being university degree level educated.
So you think someone who has one of those silly degrees from a bottom tier uni is well educated?


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Reality Check
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(Original post by Sarahsez)
Does it mean you have to have a university degree to be considered educated?

What is it exactly about uni that merits such a title in western society? So many people stress how their families value education. But what does that even mean? I wonder what factors actually make somebody educated or intellectual in society terms? And I'm also interested to hear what factors do you use (or at least think you do) personally to judge a person's education level?

Well, for starters,I believe it’s a lot broader than simply being prepared for the work force.
University <> Well Educated nowadays, but it has always been thus. The Queen didn't go to University, but is incredibly well-educated and well read. An 'education' can come in all sorts of guises. It's more to do with exposure to ideas and concepts and a willingness to intellectually develop and refine your powers of criticism and logical thought for me - along obviously with a corpus of knowledge. But University is just one way of achieving that.
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ddrrzzeerr
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I don't think it means university. It is broader than that. You can train a monkey to get a degree nowadays. It is really nothing special.

I think things like speaking French and knowing about history, literature, science, art etc makes you educated. I think of educated as someone who can hold a deep and meaningful conversation on nearly any topic.

My Dad left school at 16 and can get most of the answers on University Challenge. I have an outstanding academic record but wouldn't consider myself well educated. I'm intelligent and have the mental capacity to do well at uni but that is a narrow measure of education.
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username1799249
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(Original post by gabriellakhan)
Yeah I'd say people with a university degree are well educated. Well educated is different from clever, smart and being knowledgeable. People can be those things without being university degree level educated.
Fair points. But I'm not sure if having a degree says that much. It basically says you learned some stuff and then recalled it in an exam. For me well educated is about have bredth and depth of knowledge. I therefore have a dim view of degree educated people who don't know where East Anglia is or make a joke about how poor their mathermatics is. In British society is seems to be acceptable to be ignorant on cirtain things. For me that is not well educated.
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Dysf(x)al
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(Original post by Sarahsez)
Does it mean you have to have a university degree to be considered educated?

What is it exactly about uni that merits such a title in western society? So many people stress how their families value education. But what does that even mean? I wonder what factors actually make somebody educated or intellectual in society terms? And I'm also interested to hear what factors do you use (or at least think you do) personally to judge a person's education level?

Well, for starters,I believe it’s a lot broader than simply being prepared for the work force.
I think a well-educated person should be able to work and maintain a job, but they also should know enough to not make harmful misconceptions due to ignorance. Someone may have a degree, but if they still think that MMR causes autism or all Muslims are terrorists, they're not educated.
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markova21
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I think there's a clear difference between being educated and being ignorant. How many millions of potentially highly educated people in the United States don't believe climate change is real?
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jkls92
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(Original post by Sarahsez)
Does it mean you have to have a university degree to be considered educated?

What is it exactly about uni that merits such a title in western society? So many people stress how their families value education. But what does that even mean? I wonder what factors actually make somebody educated or intellectual in society terms? And I'm also interested to hear what factors do you use (or at least think you do) personally to judge a person's education level?

Well, for starters,I believe it’s a lot broader than simply being prepared for the work force.
Interesting topic. It certainly is much more than being prepared for a profession.

Basically, to be educated means having a degree, that is the safest option. It's hard to call someone with a decent degree "uneducated". However, I might use it for students who, despite the time spent in school, have little culture and knowledge and display views and behaviours typical of ignorant people. But I feel "ignorant" to be the correct word for such people.

It's not about the value of university, but simply the fact that "educated" means having received an education, and attending university confers that status. Well-educated is different.

To judge a person's education I primarily enquire into whether he has studied Latin and/or Ancient Greek. If he hasn't, it comes to reading and knowledge about history, literature and philosophy. If he is lacking in all those areas, I probably won't consider him well-educated.

Being an intellectual is a whole different thing because it's not as mechanical. An intellectual is someone who isn't ignorant, has deep culture, critical thinking and reasoning skills. Basically someone who reads, knows and thinks a lot. Intellectuals are people who discuss lofty or at least serious and maybe theoretical topics.
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shadowdweller
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I don't think you need a degree to be well educated, and nor does having one automatically make you so. It's definitely viable to have a fairly thorough education without attending to university, if you choose to invest your time in developing your knowledge, and if you do so enough, you could be classed as well-educated. It's also a term that's hard not to apply in relative terms; a person may seem very well educated when compared to a specific individual, but fall short of that title when compared to a wider population.
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trooper3
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Educated from Russell group uni, not any old uni lol
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DJKL
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I would more fashion the question into being perceived as educated, this of course brings articulation either in speech or writing into the equation. There are plenty of educated people not possibly perceived as such because their delivery lets them down.

To me there are a blended list of attributes, some will be more dominant than others on an individual by individual basis.

1. Sound basic knowledge of numbers and words.
2. Breadth of knowledge or if education is narrow exteme specialist knowledge.
3. An ability to weigh evidence and be discerning in adopting views.
4. A willingness to adapt views to new knowledge, understanding, circumstance.
5. A willingness to question, but not in an irrational manner.
6. Articulation in speech, writing or both.
7. Being able to learn outwith one's niche field.
8. A general knowledge across disciplines/subjects, though note 2 above.

What one is possibly looking for is akin to a product of Enlightenment thought, a questioning based on a sound grounding in the basics-the catch is that the sciences have, in some regard, so expanded that the non specialist really struggles to acquire the basic toolkit to make meaningful contribution, he or she is often limited to popular science writing e.g.I am reading a book on the history of quantum physics, whilst I can understand a limited part of the science (to a degree) a lot, without far more advanced maths, sweeps over my head.

9. Most important, an aversion to dogmatic thought, often between extremes there lies a more sensible medium, the same applies to ideologies, a willingness to accept rational compromise to me is often a strong characteristic of a truly educated individual.

(Above, of course, a personal perspective, I strongly suspect others may significantly differ)
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midgetspinner
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The ability and desire to learn in perpetuity is where education is derived from. One's own willingness and want, rather than formal education such as school, which is mandated. However, those who possess the quality described above, are likely to attend a strong institution.
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DJKL
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(Original post by glebp)
The ability and desire to learn in perpetuity is where education is derived from. One's own willingness and want, rather than formal education such as school, which is mandated. However, those who possess the quality described above, are likely to attend a strong institution.
But it does tend (though not always) to come from that original grounding- I admit these days school can be a bit straitjacketed re exam scheme marking, teaching for the exams,when my children were sitting say English in fourth/fifth year (Scotland) I did find the confines re approach, SQA, statement, quotation, analysis , somewhat regimented, I certainly did not write English Lit essays that way at school (1970s) and if I had I doubt I would have wanted to take English at university.

I suspect sixth year and university help break out of this narrow viewpoint re writing essays though for some eradicating such habits must be difficult- the catch to me seems to be that schools are so obsessed with objective marking structures they stifle originality re expression.

I suspect a good university makes all the difference, once weaned from near spoon fed approaches creativity hopefully blossoms.

From what I observed with my children there was little breadth, they did very little roaming through Tennyson, Blake, Wordsworth re practical crits in first and second year, more taking a few set texts for thirds, fourth and fifth, in my day far more works were covered, albeit maybe not in detail, far more compare and contrast, more tools of critical analysis developed at school.

The same seems true in history, whilst there is merit in the study in depth of particular events, there does need to be more a balance with span, scope and placing historical events into a far wider context.

I am not sure the same criticism can be as strongly leveled at Maths and Science at school level, actually these days there is less repetition in primary with endless pages of multiplication and division, a book with 50 questions a page and never ending pages was primary maths (arithmetic) and it appears we did less advanced Maths in secondary, however what we did we possibly learned more thoroughly. I think for me re this the jury is out, I did not mind it as I was pretty good at Maths, for those who were not it must have been misery. Re Physics I thought my son's school books and approach were far better than those of my schooldays, they were clearer (or maybe my older self was more capable)

The fact that forty years later I can recite the cosine rule from memory, having never really used it since school, does pay testament that maybe boring rote learning does have some merit.

You are spot on with university, it can engender a lifelong curiosity to keep reading and studying (for pleasure) for years after completion, though I must admit with me it is more in the arts and my only real use of maths is at the very basic level when say reading about science, and I usually get lost after line one of the maths.

I am also pleasantly surprised that both my children having finished university appear to have absorbed and read outwith their area of study, sometimes for pleasure; their breadth of knowledge, which when at school seemed weak, has blossomed, so much that I am now the dullard having things explained to me.
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PainDragon
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Having common sense and the ability to think for oneself. There are two many foolish sheep about these days.

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