Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Purpose of College

To me, the purpose of college should be "to provide an education".  Some of that education can be utilitarian, designed to prepare people for employment in certain fields.  Some of that education can be of the "self actualization" variety.  My fear is that, for too many colleges and universities, providing an education isn't really the primary goal:
As we’ve noted before, college—at least for many students, and in many areas of study—”functions more and more as a signaling device for employers and a networking tool for the middle and upper classes rather than as a rigorous educational program.” There are a number of interests that would like to see this system sustained—academic bureaucracies, downwardly mobile children of the rich, and investors in student debt chief among them. But employers, students, and the public at large are all better served by a job market that allocates opportunities based on actual skills and knowledge, rather than empty letters on a resume.

1 comment:

Pseudotsuga said...

In its earliest inceptions, the college was to prepare men for the clergy.
Sometime in the last 200 years it became a place for the upper class to acquire a credential. They didn't need to work, so the university was not utilitarian, and probably not even self-actualization.
Fast forward to today: the purpose of college, as the administrations apparently see it, is to preserve administrative employment by getting tuition-paying butts-in-seats. Any actual education that happens is secondary to that action, which is even more important than handing out credentials to students who successfully pay their tuition and pass their classes.