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Significance of university (Part 2)- Our expectations

Hello, interested happy people and The Uni Tutor’s blog readers!

In this two-part blog entry, we are going to discuss the importance (or unimportance) of University (College, as you North Americans call it).

Now, there seems to have been a lot of discussion lately about the importance of University. Is University worth it? Most of the discussion seems to stem from a result of the ever-increasing university fees, both in the UK and the USA. To make matters worse, the ever shrinking job market is playing a role in the increasing doubts over the usefulness of a college (or university) degree.
We’re more than certain that this controversial topic will raise a few eyebrows. That said, however, we are going to ensure we cover a wide variety of viewpoints.

But what we think many commentators are lacking in their critiques is that don’t get the objective of university from a policy perspective.

So that is what we are going to do discuss because the internet loves policy, right?

I think first what we should cover before we get into the details of whether university is worthy or not, is exactly what we expect education institutions to do.

So firstly, I think it is important that education teaches us to be better people. Whether you like it or not, learning is something we do to better understand the people and the world around us, to understand our place in the universe. I am not sure whether you are studying physics or philosophy you are answering a fundamental question, do you? ‘Why I am here, where is my place?’

We have asked people of who have that sort of education about where they stand in the wider world, the more reasons to be socially conscious with their actions and politically active. And these traits, we are sure you can agree, is important in society. And secondly, what I think we can agree with importantly is that education is designed to prepare you to be useful to the economic system that we have (voluntarily or involuntarily) embraced. So you want to start. To do that, you have to participate in market economics. You have to get a job, you have to be useful. And education is supposedly and should be designed to help you be a part of that. So we study something that we enjoyed. Hopefully we got a job that we enjoy so we can enjoy life and have stuff and everything will be great.

A good example of this kind of thinking is in Germany. Germany does not consider education spending to be part of a social policy spending programme. They consider it to be part of an economic spending program. This is because an educated workforce is the best economic asset a country can have. So the trait goes that the more educated we are the more socially active we are, the more political active we are and the more economically affluent and responsible we are, right? So how is this linking on what they are talking about across the globe about the worth of university degree? Well, if we agree on what Universities and indeed the education system as a whole is for, which is to make people more useful economically and socially, which I think we can agree on to a greater or lesser extent.

So if we can agree on that, the question for us as informed policy makers becomes, how do we make education worth it? In our next series in this two-part blog, we will be talking about how can we make it more efficient? Because if we can agree on that then as an informed policy-makers the questions becomes less of how can we make University worth it? In other words, how can we increase the economic and social benefits of it? Two, how can we make universities less boring and more fun and useful? Put another way, how can we decrease the economic and social cost?

We hope you enjoyed this first series in our blog. Please join us in the next series when we further elaborate on the issues and reach several important conclusions.

Brendan Davids

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