Saturday, 9 July 2011


I'm a firm advocate of meritocracy. I believe in a reward system based on merits: on proven well-developed and properly utilized skills that lead to real contributions toward a common goal, to quantifiable accomplishments, to actual positive results that benefited your group or society. A person's progress should be defined by his well-intentioned outputs, and its contribution to the greater good, to be recognized free from any form of discrimination. I believe in a philosophy that transcends race, gender, privilege, appearance or wealth, and dignifies tangible achievements instead above all. A community or company that follows meritocracy in choosing their leaders and promoting members will consistently have qualified individuals at the spearhead, will be maximizing the capacities of those that can contribute, and sets precedence for everyone to improve and achieve.

For meritocracy to truly flourish though, equal opportunity should be provided to everyone. Knowledge in a certain field should be distributed properly to those seeking to pursue it. They should also be provided with the resources required to cultivate their skills. And they should be given a chance to apply the expertise they've learned and prove their competency, then to finally achieve their dreams and maybe even be recognized and rewarded by society for their contributions. Otherwise we would have just another elitist group of leaders again defined by select educational institutions, not much better than rulers defined by accumulated wealth, by association, or by royal blood.

Unfortunately, equal opportunity, and therefore meritocracy, does not currently truly exist. Education is still limited to those who can afford it, especially those provided by world-famous universities. And society mostly only recognizes training gained from accredited institutions or well-known experts, which makes them reluctant to provide those without credentials the resources to develop their skills or the opportunity to utilize their proficiency. A degree from some remote third-world country does not rank high amongst the thousands of others all vying for excellence, and they have a valid argument, since not all institutions have the capacity to provide exceptional instructors and learning facilities. Much more if you don't have that piece of parchment declaring you to be a holder of a certain degree. And since an individual's progress can be limited to how society judges your competency, those at the lower end of the spectrum are left foundering in the wake of those with access to better training.

There are hundreds of thousands of books available for a certain price that would improve your skills, and the internet is slowly opening up a large body of knowledge for free access, but they are usually still disjointed and incomplete for a proper in-depth learning and training on a certain specialization. They would definitely be a superior supplement to your studies, especially if you have the diligence and dedication to immerse yourself fully in it, but unfortunately, these books do not provide the written certification that society demands. And self-study or self-training can only take you so far, to advance further you would need the support of a group to take on larger projects.

But for those truly determined, these limitations set by society are merely challenges to be overcome. No one can restrict what you can or cannot achieve. It will be a difficult uphill struggle, especially if you're near the bottom rungs of the "educational hierarchy", but passion for your work and conviction to your goals will drive you to continue developing your skills, with or without certified training. Meritocracy might not fully exist, but there is enough of it for them to progress upon if they can convince one well-funded organization that they are proficient even without the credentials. History is replete with stories of high school drop-outs who became famous intellectuals and "uneducated" people who improved civilization with their innovative ideas . They achieved this by recognizing that real education or skill is not defined by institutions, but by the individual themselves, and that the real rewards comes not from the medals handed out by society, but from the self-satisfaction gained upon achieving a hard-won enterprise.

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