Is the statement "in today's society, academic excellence is the ticket to success" a valid assertion?
The statement, "In today's society, academic excellence is the ticket to success," could logically to applied to any era, depending upon one's definition of "success." If applied in strictly financial terms, then, yes, education is generally the ticket to success. If applied more broadly to include one's state of being, in effect, contentment with the direction of one's life, than academic excellence may be less determinative.
The one way in which the statement could be interpreted as objectivelly accurate or valid is in the context of the contemporary era's overwhelming dependence on levels of technology the understanding of which requires an education. The advent of the computer as a fixture in most homes and businesses has placed a premium on educations in information technologies. Absent such an education, the prospects of professional success are diminished. Additionally, the economy's evolution away from reliance on manufacturing industries towards one more service-oriented makes the attainment of an education more important, as does the economic definition of success with respect to careers in finances, law, medicine and other highly-skilled professions.
Finally, many academic institutions market themselves on the basis of this very assertion: that professional success in the globally competitive environment in which we operate demands academic excellence. Again, there is a great deal of validity to that statement, but only within a certain context.
There is no question that for a country to be economically vibrant and socially advanced, the education of its youth must be assured. Knowledge of mathematics, science, engineering, social sciences and other areas is a sine qua non of evolutionary development in the marketplace. Absent a continuous flow of educated youth over successive generations, any country is destined to wither. At the more individual level, however, success can be defined in such a way that minimizes the importance of academic excellence and prioritizes instead one's sense of inner peace. Which is fine, except to the extent one needs to save for junior's college education.
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