There’s a great lie in American discourse today. They say education is too expensive. We need to subsidize this or that, pay for some years of college, etc…
It’s all bullshit. Education is FREE. Yes. Right now. You can download all of MIT’s coursework, today, right now, for free. One professor I really respect, a Dr. Kelley Ross from California, runs a website http://www.friesian.com/ that has the most comprehensive writings on philosophy, economics and history that I have ever seen. The man is a machine. And, as I have conversed with Francis over at Liberty’s Torch, I realized there are resources for learning the art of storytelling, too.
Now, I don’t trust Wikipedia anymore, but Britannica is online, and you can buy a DVD version for like $20. Project Gutenberg gives us access to classic literature. There are Youtube channels dedicated to teaching you foreign languages. Your local library is even a resource. If you’re in my industries (I am both a DJ and a Web Developer), there are so many resources to teach you these fields it is ridiculous. I am entirely self-taught in both careers.
Now, I get it. People still go to college because they need the certifications, they need the sheepskin, so to speak, in order to get by the GateKeepers in HR departments around the world. But now we’re talking something entirely different. We’re not talking about getting an education, we’re talking about proving that you’re educated.
I submit that, for many fields, there are better ways to prove your education than a college degree that often costs over $100,000.
The fact of the matter is, College is obsolete.
People today are spoiled, in many ways. If you’ve ever read Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, you can get a sense for how difficult gaining knowledge once was. This was a life’s work for Gibbon. He had to travel all over Europe, digging through ancient monasteries, noble libraries, and universities in order to dredge up the information required for his work.
In those days, education had to be centralized. There were not enough books and knowledge had to be concentrated in only a few places. Universities and Monasteries were the only places you could really get a substantial education.
Today books are cheap, and with the advent of the computer and the Internet, knowledge is so cheap it doesn’t even need to be printed anymore. Gibbon wouldn’t have had to spend 25 years scouring Europe for reference material, he could have done it all in 25 minutes on Google.
So the old centralized model of education is outdated. Oh, institutions still have a place, but more as practical, hands-on teaching. A man who wishes to become a mechanic or a surgeon will need tools, practice material and internship-style work in order to fulfill his role. Institutions can provide that component. But those institutions won’t be colleges or universities in any traditional sense.
But the rest? College is worthless for that, because the education can be obtained far more cheaply and readily elsewhere. And in my field of web development, advancement moves so fast colleges literally cannot keep up. By the time a class is formed and a professor is taught… the industry has moved on.