The year 2020 is a historic time for the entire world. Things are never going to the same again post the pandemic too. Education, especially higher education, has reached a major turning point. The present scenario has presented itself with two choices: one is to remain old and obsolete and stick to what has worked so far; or two, take a chance, a leap of faith and tread a new, unexplored path.
The biggest question for education all across especially today is how to go forward. Institutions that have always been prepared for change and fairing well as they are able to adapt to the drastic and sudden change the world is grappling with. While higher education is usually slow to evolve, the pandemic has had a catalytic effect on education globally. With educational institutions moving online and providing undergraduate and graduate degrees, the sphere of education has been pushed to shed their older beliefs and resort to embrace the opportunities that online learning presents.
Education should not be for the dumb down of people. From going class to class, chapter to chapter. Failing should be an integral part of learning. Students need to learn to be daring, risk taking and interesting adults as they grow up.
Given that the corona virus vaccine won’t be ready anytime soon, more people are expected to return to schools.
Higher education is not always about getting a job
Parents and teachers usually instill in children that going to a university or getting higher education is about being able to earn more money. Studying further has a very economic approach. It has a macro element and a micro element. The macro element – where the workforce needs to be educated in a knowledge economy and a micro element – going to university one can get a better job and higher earnings. Both of these things are true. However, the recent turn of events has shaken the world into reassessing everything that is being done. Education included. This brings us to the real reason why one should get an education higher or otherwise. The role of a university is not just to provide the technical skills that he / she learns, but also from benefits one gains from the formation of an enquiring mind. If people could participate in a higher education it would help build a civilized society and build a robust democracy. These ideas are old, but are new today. Skills needed to participate in a democratic society, to know things, understand what political parties are doing, when you think about who to vote for. One needs to gain knowledge. One needs to have an educated mind to be able to understand and express things that will better the world. Complex judgments need to be made on an everyday basis in the world today – in our own lives and as a citizen. If one were to comment on the public purse or the national resources – who do you think would be a better person to do it? One who has dropped out of school or someone who has pursued further education and gained a higher understanding on how the world works?
Leaving the halls of academia, the people learn to be participants in a democratic society than be a mere observant. This is not just a conservative idea, but also a socio-democratic idea.
Future of higher education in America
The habits of disciplined and rigorous investigation from an open mind are the marks of few men and women in a free society. Education is indispensable to the maintenance freedom of thought faith enterprise and association to strengthen your liberties. Education helps, more than get you an internship or a job, it helps to get a character of democratic ideals, respect for human personality, insistence of fullest freedom of belief and expression for all its citizens. To learn how to participate in decisions that concerns them.
To be a democratic citizen means to be able to approach each other as equals. This provides a basis of dignity: learning to talk to each other as equals. A college education if it helps the society, the nation and the world as a whole, is worth it.
Lack of education is the root of all problems. Ignorance allowed politicians to fool people. Schooling should be available for all: rich and poor, for boys and girls with a library and computers and washrooms and bright posters – said Malala Yousafzai when speaking of her father’s dream. Speaking from the disempowered to the disempowered, the importance of a chance to sit together and learn together, to have a chance at life. Education is for democracy. Education is for civilization and is right for our new times.