This is Your Brain On Awesome Thoughts on the world from a student of the mind

3Aug/10

Is higher education a waste of your time?

A recent interview has been posted to NPR's website that covers the issue of higher education and its place in our society.

Tony Cox sat down with Andrew Hacker, a distinguished academic and author of the recent book "Higher Education?" to discuss his thoughts on our current system and why it may be broken.

In a nutshell, he criticizes many institutional traditions such as tenure, declaring that it encourages professors to focus on themselves rather than on their students.  He also suggests that the research-focused nature of most large universities leaves students who shell out significant amounts of money each year in a lurch.

I have to say that I'm inclined to agree with Professor Hacker - it seems ridiculous to me that the cost of college degrees keeps on getting bigger and bigger while the value of having one seems to be shrinking by the day.

Most studies suggest that it is becoming easier and easier for students to pidgeonhole themselves into a specific field at a young age, something may aid in getting a job but ultimately deprives them of the breadth of experience that historically defines university life.

In my own experience with university life, it seems like the most valuable lessons I learned came unintentionally, from unexpected or even unwanted sources.  I wonder what kinds of experiences and knowledge people are missing out on these days by being allowed to avoid anything deemed "unnecessary."

via NPR

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