Many countries figure out your natural aptitudes and from there you go to college/vocational schools, all part of citizenship.
In some countries it works well, like Finland. In Egypt, at least in the 80s, it sometimes worked / sometimes was a mismatch. [my mother’s ex-husband’s brother was trained to be a lawyer in Egypt but he hated it, even though he was good at it and had a cousin trained to be a cop (they train police over there unlike some countries and interestingly have different types like traffic cop which nobody takes seriously, on up, rather than “one cop for all things”).
And in both – Finland and Egypt, higher education is paid for.
In the USA, we have very expensive schools like Yale. My governor of Florida, Rhonda Sanchez went to Yale.
It got him politically where he needed to go. But as an actual education, it was worthless.
You mention suffering.
A popular fad in American schools since the mid 2000s has been GRIT.
It’s all the rage among teachers and some of it was part of common core applications just not officially.
Basically: You try to get the kid to fail.
You make it almost impossible to succeed so that even the brightest students are forced to fail, the theory being they’ll work and try hardest to be their best.
They’ve been doing it for about 15 years now or so, a lot of teachers anyway.
And it doesn’t work. But they keep doing it because they believe it’s a “tough love”. It’s not.
Grit assumes kids care about the rewards/denial system at schools. What happens instead is “learned helplessness”.