[Letters] Looking beyond diplomas

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[Letters] Looking beyond diplomas

A lot of prejudices exist in our daily lives. These prejudices can bring about bad effects on the people they target and can even destroy their lives. So, efforts to get rid of these unreasonable prejudices are urgently needed.

The movie called “The Blind Side” showed us how we can overcome prejudices by telling the story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American man who becomes a famous football player thanks to the help of those around him.

Though he got accepted to a private school, his education level was far lower than other students at the school. Teachers who knew Michael’s grades which he got from his previous school just thought that Michael was not qualified to go to their school and looked down on him. They believed that his lower grades were due to his bad attitude and will.

One day, his science teacher found a paper that Michael had written about his teachers. It said that the teachers didn’t know that he couldn’t understand them and expected him to do homework on his own.

After seeing that paper, Michael’s teachers thought he probably could understand the class if they made more of an effort to teach him.

For instance, Michael had low reading skills, so his teachers read him the question on the test so that he could answer that question. Unless the teachers overcame their prejudices, they realized Michael wouldn’t get a good GPA and couldn’t enter college.

In our current society we can find similar prejudices toward people who have low levels of education.

Many people think their low education levels are due to their attitudes and will, just as teachers thought of Michael. So, they are thought to have less ability to work than people who have higher education backgrounds.

As a result, in companies, employees with only a high school diploma not only have less opportunities to be hired but also have less opportunities for advancement than employees who graduated from college do.

For instance, employees with a high school diploma take a much longer time to get promoted in a company regardless of their real abilities and qualifications.

But, identifying the abilities of people only according to their educational backgrounds is unfavorable. That’s because the College Scholastic Aptitude Test only focuses on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence, likewise the IQ test. These days, the IQ test is criticized because it cannot decide whether people are smart or not.

Like the CSAT, IQ tests only can measure a person’s linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. So, we cannot tell if a person who has high IQ test score is capable of everything. Tasks at a company are not all related to linguistic and logical-mathematical abilities. There are tasks which need people who are good at people skills, music, art and so on. So, you cannot judge people’s abilities just based on their education backgrounds.

In order to protect people who have a low level of education from unfair discrimination on the job, people need to consider multiple intelligence, which means not only linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences but also spatial (picture smart), bodily-kinesthetic (body smart), musical (music smart), interpersonal (people smart), intrapersonal (self smart) and naturalist (nature smart) intelligences.

For example, a company involved in the art industry has to value people who have high spatial intelligence regardless of their academic backgrounds.

And for a job which is related to consultant work, people who have high intrapersonal intelligence should be valued above others. Likewise, the skills needed vary according to different companies.

Therefore, we have to get rid of our prejudice of valuing people according to their level of education immediately.

And then, we may find many people who are like Michael Oher in reality.

Lee Jeongyeon,

student at Kyung Hee University
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