Our education system, in my opinion, is in serious crisis. And when I refer to crisis, I do so in the most etymological sense of the word: “crisis” is a word that comes from Greek, meaning, to “break” or “decide.”
Therefore, when I talk about a “crisis of the education system,” I think we should be going through a period of change, and possibly of “breaking” the current system. If drastic measures are not taken, I at least hope that it is a period of reflection and, thus, of decision making.
We inherited from our grandparents an education system that was very useful to them, but it seems to me that it is now somewhat archaic and will be even more so for our children and our grandchildren.
When universities were founded formally 10 centuries ago, in Bologna and Paris, and a few centuries later in Salamanca, Oxford and Cambridge, it was primarily with the objective to form professionals in the fields of law and what was called “liberal arts” during the Renaissance: first medicine and philosophy, and later “the arts”. Those were the professionals who were most in demand and also most respected. In fact, those students who had to travel during their studies were provided special permits that opened doors to them even in the most difficult and unforeseen places.
And, I could tell more than one anecdote about that. Later, in the 17th century, technical degrees were incorporated into that same system, accompanying the industrial development that society was acquiring. Universities turned into institutions where one could find the professionals who would accompany the organizational growth of society in all spheres. Finishing a university degree was synonymous with a professional career and if, on top of it, you finished with good grades, it practicallyguaranteed getting the best jobs, providing you with a successful career and an easy retirement.
It’s been that way during almost 10 centuries, as I mentioned, but today this no longer holds true.
How many university students will find a respectable job that is related to what they have studied when they finish their degree?
Looking at this through the eyes of the consumer, university degrees, which were once a clear sign of differentiation, have turned into a clear sign of homogenization. In the next 30 years more students will study in universities than have studied up until now in the history of humanity. And of them, probably more than 50% will never find a job in the same field in which they received their university education.
Isn’t this enough of a reason to consider a change or, at the very least, some deep thought?