Are You Educated?

by Patrick Liew on August 16, 2019

Are You Educated?

As students receive their academic results, it bodes well to reexamine our understanding of what it means to be educated.

In particular, we need to broaden our understanding of intelligence, meritocracy and success.

We need to redefine them so as to help our students meet changing needs of society and thrive in the exciting new world of possibilities.


We need to recognize that there are multiple intelligences and intellectual intelligence is just one of them.

Moral intelligence is just as important as intelligence of the mind. Altruistic intelligence can be more important than logical intelligence.

Taking action is more important than just acquiring information.

Every student has a unique set of gifts, talents and interests. We need to help him develop his strengths and pursue positive passion, values, and aspiration.

By helping him to expand his potential and leverage on his strengths, he will be able to optimize his contributions to the people and environment around him.

Therefore, we need to develop the student in a holistic and balanced way. He must know how to research and create knowledge and apply them in unfamiliar settings, including the new spaces of a fast-changing digital economy.


Meritocracy should not therefore be measured by academic results and achievements.

In particular, it should never recognise and reinforce students who game examination system to achieve good grades.

It should also not be based on forging ahead at the expense of others and neither should it be about achieving a higher academic ranking and leaving others behind in life.

In the process of producing better results, the student should also reach out to help others raise their level of performance and accomplishment.

He should share in the responsibility of helping others who do not enjoy the same position, privilege, and advantages as himself.

We should commend and reward those who stand out and stay ahead on the basis of their talents, results and hard work.

However, it does not mean that those who don’t do as well as them suffers from having a negative attitude, are not talented, and are not working hard to improve their achievements.

We should not leave any students behind and we should help them find ways to catch up and improve themselves.

There should be different tracks to help every student achieve success.

Even if he is a late developer or has been sidetracked in his growth, he should be able to rejoin the others and achieve the best possible outcomes.

He is able to pursue different careers in his lifetime and make a success out of them.

The purpose of meritocracy is to unite and not to divide the people, to advance their interests and not to serve any personal interests.

It is to to raise the tide for all – and not for any exclusive groups- to achieve a higher standard of living.


Success should not just have one definition. It should not be defined by the student’s school and his academic results.

Success is not just about having more personal income, possession, power, prestige and position.

More importantly, it is about how the student will make full use of what he has so as to help improve others and the environment.

Success should have many definitions and be defined from the perspective of every student’s unique personality, advantage, and aspiration.

It has to be measured from the benefits generated by the student for the economy, community and society.

It’s also about how he will go out of the way to put to right many of the wrongs that crossed his path as well as the wrongs that are out there in the world.

In short, education is about producing a moral, responsible, productive, and useful person who knows how to work with others to address social injustice and transform the world for good.

So, are you educated?


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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