Getting Rich: What function of education is it?


Getting Rich

Since my hay days at school, teachers used to warn me that if I fail at school, particularly in mathematics, the world will only accommodate me as a poor vagrant. I was convinced. The belief was substantiated when it became apparent that in Zimbabwe you cannot be enrolled as an Air Force Aero apprentice without mathematics, English language and physical science. I was again convinced. I then conducted an in-depth research on the entry requirements for all the prestigious and most paying university programs in Zimbabwe which would ensure an immediate employment anywhere on this spinning ball or even in outer space, mathematics was mandatory. Now I became convinced and drew two conclusions:

  1. Without mathematics, the highest chances are that you will not get a very good job
  2. With mathematics, the highest chances are that you will get a very good, prestigious and highly paying job.


This question puzzled me, I initially came to an unstable and non-conclusive theory after an intensive research. My theory, or rather assumption was mainly based on individual case studies.  My first case study revealed that getting rich is not directly proportional to the level of education you attain judging from Phillip Chiyangwa. Almost every Zimbabwean knows about this man who is often listed as one of the rich Zimbabweans, in a list where most professors do not dare tread on. His level of education if represented as a percentage of any random known highly educated Zimbabwean it will produce a result equal to the percentage of the wealth of that randomly picked wiz expressed in terms of Chiyangwa’s.

I also found that  Orji Uzor Kalu, one of the prominent rich Nigerians was not a holder of any college diploma by the time he became recognized as one of the richest people on the African soils. It was his hard work which proved worth for the turnover. On the global scale, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the richest person in the world, has a net worth of $75 billion. Gates’ net worth is greater than the GDP of 122 countries. If he were to liquidate all of his assets, Gates could purchase all of the final goods and services supplied by Myanmar in a single year, but surprisingly, he is a college dropout.

What about Amancio Ortega whose current net worth is $66.5 bn, he is now 79 years old and richer than ever. Although he didn’t graduate from college, his business model for Inditex is used for teaching in many business schools. This guy led me into an untimely loop in my theory; his business model is being studied? And obviously, some people learned than him failing it?

Then we have people like Thomas Edison who was labeled dumb and scatterbrain by his school teachers but he went on to become one of the world’s greatest inventors and founded General Electric; one of the most powerful companies in the world.

A further survey of those with college degrees also revealed that only a few of them were as educated as the known great bookworms.

It was becoming apparent to me that richness was not directly proportional to the level of education attained, when …. wait! As an afterthought, I realized that I HAD EARLIER DRAWN A CONCLUSION THAT WITHOUT A DECENT EDUCATION AND PASSES IN SUBJECTS LIKE MATHEMATICS YOU WON’T GET A DECENT EMPLOYMENT. Then this is not adding up. This now led me face to face with two common myths concerning the interconnectivity of EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT AND GETTING RICH. I further made two critics on these myths….

Myth #1 Education and Getting Rich

I noticed that I was viewing the issue of education from the wrong perspective, applying the wrong concepts in clear issues. Richness is not guaranteed through the level of education only if we are using conventional curriculums, which serves more as indoctrination, as the benchmark. By conventional, I mean both the general certificates of education and university degrees. The argument above is only applicable using this criterion.

In reality, education is essential to getting rich. You will never get rich without acquiring the highest level of education of a certain trade. The conventional type of education is just meant to be a guideline, although through illusion, misinformation and propaganda it managed to drive a lot of people out of their destinies. Everyone is destined for greatness but through this educational system; greatness is usually lost. This is what Buckminster Fuller meant when he said, “all children are born geniuses; 9,999 out of every 10,000 are swiftly, inadvertently degeniusized by grownups”.

A person with football traits is forced to leave his passion into pursuing medicine, just because this is his parents’ or teachers’ wishes. The end result..?..that person fails to achieve the requirements for studying medicine, …then? His parents label him a failure and he is left clueless. Although the Zimbabwean educational board included sports in its curriculum, being a sportsman is still a looked down upon career, let alone arts and culture…

I am not only talking about sports; some people are born with craftsmanship skills but are deflected from the course leading to their future by a lot of factors ending up leading into a dead end or following a path that provides less than what they deserve. Others are born with engineering in their fingers but the costliness of pursuing that career deters them.

Richness is attained through acquiring relevant education in the fields you are more gifted in, not from attaining a bunch of irrelevant diplomas. Education is not defined by how much Ordinary Level passes or Advanced Level passes you have. How much learned you are is not a function of how many tertiary diplomas you attained although this is part of a cultural doctrine being handed down through generations.

Education is any form of knowledge, wisdom or awareness obtained physically, emotionally or spiritually from any source. A person learning the correct thing relevant to him will never fail- in fact, the person will grasp the concept with extraordinary stunning easiness. In essence, learning about business is remarkably easy for a business minded person especially if the business concept being taught is the correct one to his taste (business people also have different business capabilities- if taught a wrong concept effectiveness will be reduced.)

Myth #2 Employment and Getting Rich

Contrary to popular belief, getting employed and getting rich are not very close allies because of a very simple-but-often under looked fact which I am going to develop. Let us assume that I am a business person and I want a very effective and trustworthy workforce to push my endeavors forward and enlarge my territories. Usually, it is understood that both effectiveness and trust evolve, develop and mature with time. That means initially I should find a certain group of people, usually with conventional education (for this is believed to be the best way to pick intelligent people), and employ them under me. To make sure that these people will remain under me, I will give them a salary that is not very low so that they will not leave me; at the same time, that salary should not be too high because if they get rich they will leave me and effectiveness might be lost. This salary should be a bit close to what these people need in order to achieve their dreams and my increments should bring hope that one day they will be rich enough to pursue their dreams. Behind the scenes, an invisible hand (mafaro) will be channeling their savings into luxury to hinder their possible development. A point in time will be reached when they would manage to forget their dreams, and through promotions and incentives, they will develop a sense of sufficiency and security under my shadow and before they could remake their mind, their heads would have grown gray.  This group will continue the tradition-building an empire for me.

The loop here is very simple to derive. On my next intake, I will announce that I need people qualified more than the first and so the trend continues. You see, the whole essence is that education leads to employment and employment shutters your dream. That is why we usually experience cases of people who get rich after being ejected from work or college. What happens is, the feeling of dejection and lowliness arising from being pushed away from the discipline that does not belong to you will awaken your instincts and lead you into exploring further in areas you are naturally gifted more in. I am not saying that you should get expelled from school or work to align yourself with your destiny- doing so might also be ruinous to your future which might be married with either of the two.

However, to a certain extent, employment might be very important in someone’s life, especially when it is a stepping stone in the mighty river of the unknown fate. Conventional education is also vital in shaping our futures and by this, I come to the point where I draw my last theory concerning education and getting rich.

Getting rich and education, my extensive conclusion

Whether getting rich is a subject of education or not is usually regarded as a controversial topic but a further analysis of the source of this seemingly generational debate reveals that the problem in reaching a workable consensus is conceived through the diversity and variety of definitions of education itself. However, if we adopt any learning process whether certified or uncertified as education, we can, without hesitation or hustles conclude that education is very vital for success in life- which is usually defined by richness. Creative thinking and innovation are both parts of education whereby according to EDWARD DE BONO, MD, AUTHOR OF LATERAL THINKING; creative thinking involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in different ways. This part of education is required by everyone in order to draw informed decisions in as much as life is concerned.

While the conventional learning tactic is very good, I noticed that the person who created that system is a very wise opportunist in the sense that he knows how to groom potential labor, leech in the sense that he knows how to capitalize on potentials, plutocracy in the sense that he managed to build a society led by the few rich people and a narcissist who pretends to be giving people what they deserve while he is busy shattering dreams of potential future billionaires.

If asked what education should be like, I would answer that education throughout all levels of integration should be based on the apprenticeship principle, a basic literacy program should be compulsory up to a certain level, from there, children’s special talents and abilities should be nurtured under the more experienced members of the same ability……. but that is only viable if people are to be born with tags denoting their capabilities.

Who knows, maybe Zimbabwe’s new educational curriculum which is being underlooked and publicly criticized by most citizens within the vertical and horizontal integration due to lack of awareness will be able to bring a new age where education becomes a tool for financial and economic freedom rather than a “literate-labor” creation tool…

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Simbarashe Mwanaka was born in Inyanga, a small smart town in Manicaland, eastern part of Zimbabwe on the 6th of January 1993 as the only male product of Zebedia Mwanaka and Takesure Marongedza. He attended Shiri Primary School, St Mary Magdalene's High School and St Monicas High School( for advanced level). He is currently doing aero engineering.



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