As time goes on, I am finding it increasingly more difficult to justify the existence of higher education in
. Our colleges and universities and changed very little over the course of time, which is wholly inconsistent with the trends of modern technology. The fact that most students still walk to class with books under their arms, only to sit in a rotting classroom and listen to a half-dead professor mumble in front of a chalk board for two hours is nearing hysterical. We’ve been doing this same song and dance for the past century; our fathers and grandfathers walked to class, read twenty-pound textbooks and listened to Father Time slowly die with each passing stroke of the chalk. The only real difference between your father’s college experience and our college experience is the price they paid to sleep in the uncomfortable chair way in the back of class. America
This isn’t to say that I don’t fully support the education of today’s youth. I feel as though we shouldn’t charge little Timmy $80,000 to impart upon him the vast and intricate knowledge of physics, chemistry and mathematics. My main argument is that a large majority of the vast and intricate knowledge of physics, chemistry and mathematics is available online for free. With the proper understanding of search engines, you can find information about anything. Did you forget how to solve quadratic equations? Google has 4.5 million pages regarding the quadratic equation, and it found all of them in 0.10 seconds. How about finding the electron configuration of boron? Google found 85,000 pages on that subject in 0.18 seconds. When you think about the capacity of the internet, does a $1200 9-week chemistry lecture really sound all that great?
Do we really require a teacher to become intellectual creatures? Are we so accepting of our own inability to learn independently that we will pay exuberant amounts of money to be talked at for years on end? If you’re sitting at a computer right now reading this blog, you’re already connected to a limitless knowledge database; you’re at the helm of a data repository so unimaginable immense that, if it was printed, you would need hundreds of thousands of liters of ink and over one billion pounds of paper. Could you imagine a textbook that was over one billion pounds? What will really blow your mind is the fact that you paid $200 for your last 20 pound textbook. Remember that billion-pound textbook I was talking about? Free.
So what stops us from utilizing the knowledge so readily available to us? The business of education and the education of business, that’s what. Universities and colleges don’t care about you, your future, your classes or your silly little clubs. They don’t care about your grades or your football teams, and they most certainly don’t give a fuck about your education. Higher education is concerned with one thing and nothing else – your money. With the money you pay these institutes of higher education, you could buy property, you could buy a house, hell… you could invest it and let it trickle interest. You pay for your education though; you pay for your education because without the textbook and teachers, you don’t have diplomas.
This is where the education of business comes into play. Most businesses require some form of evidence from an institute of higher education that you paid a shit ton of money to learn a whole bunch of things that, for the most part, have absolutely nothing to do with the job they will offer you. The process is cyclical and corrupt beyond the point of repair. Businesses require degrees, degrees require school, school requires money, and money requires a job. If you’re lucky, you’ll pay off your debt by the time your 30 or 40 and be free of the cycle, and look at the bright side – you’ve only wasted half your life.
I have a crazy vision of the future where this is no longer a problem. I imagine a world where everyone takes responsibility for themselves, they set aside time to look up new ideas and concepts on the internet. They use the technology that they play games on to look up scientific information about the world around them in order to gain a greater understanding of the universe they live in. These kids are excited about learning new ways to comprehend the intricacies of their existence. Businesses no longer require a Bachelors or Masters degree to be hired; they simply formulate a complex entry examination relevant to the job. Between the test and an interview, the applicants can be properly evaluated for their compatibility with the available career, all without the unnecessary monetary and emotional drain of higher education. In order to do well on your entry exams, you’ll be forced to learn about the field you’re applying for on your own, utilizing the ever growing knowledge database that is the internet.
In my vision of the future, we stop spending money on our own education and instead siphon these funds towards educating others. With the amount of money we spend on tuition and books, we could instead begin designing a basic infrastructure for the poorer nations of the world. Within a decade or two we could have wireless internet access anywhere on Earth, and every human could have access to a computer. We could begin efforts to raise the world literacy level to near 100%, and use this readily available technology to assist in translations and basic literacy education. With proper dispersal of language software, we could eventually live in a world where everyone had at least a basic grasp of a universal tongue. As more and more of humanity become fluent with not only language, but also technology, the amount of data on the internet will increase even faster than it already has. The diversity of content will increase by the minute; articles, discussions, news and history from nations that once never new what a computer was will begin finding its way online. As our understanding of different cultures becomes more intricate and more extensive, so will our tolerance for things we don’t understand.
Perhaps I’m just an idealist. Maybe this world is destined for the cliché sci-fi ending of smoke, robots and rotting corpses littering the countryside. Perhaps we are perpetually doomed to live in the shadow of Agent Smith and his memorable speech:
“I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure.”