This is something that I’ve thought about for some time: having a university degree isn’t necessary and you shouldn’t need one for a lot of disciplines out there. But the world has become such a place where having one is a prerequisite for a lot of professional-type positions (engineer, lawyer, etc).
I think that the whole idea of a university has completely lost its meaning today. To my understanding, they were once respectable institutions mostly involved in research as well as offering a higher form of education (I’m not going to get into the Christianity base that a lot of Western universities were founded on). These days, at least in the Western world, whilst maintaining the research side of things, they’ve largely become something of a joke.
Before I go on, I’ll state my definition of what a university should be: an institution that is privately owned and whose primary focus is research in the physical sciences, and then other areas if necessary (literature, humanities, etc). Its academics/professors should hold objectivity, truth, facts and reason as their primary virtues and if they identify with a certain political/philosophical ideology, then they shouldn’t make it their aim to ‘recruit’ young students to their ’cause’ (as is the norm today). There wouldn’t be anything inherently wrong in offering courses that teach a certain ideology, just that it shouldn’t be filtered down to every subject and interwoven into the course structure such that you’re being taught things through a certain bias.
From my observations in todays world, I see universities as semi-propaganda machinations (if not fully) where Left-wing dogma is prevalent across the board: from professors, to postgraduate students and to undergraduate students. Sure, I know that not everyone harbours such views, but the point is that enough do to the point where a lot of students end up adopting such views, blindly (and then end up becoming the president of the US). Some degrees/courses have more of this left-wing dogma interwoven in them than others (for example, the likes of philosophy, politics, business as opposed to the physical sciences and engineering, but even they have a lot on climate change and so on). This has been going on for a number of decades now and I’m not going to get into examples of how Western universities are largely left-wing, since it should be obvious to anyone who has had some experience with them; but especially how rabbidly left-wing a lot of the students are.
The other thing is that, way before universities became the norm (so talking about early 1900s and going back), the vast majority of successful, famous people who made their mark on this world did so without the need of a university education (or even a high school one). Some people that come to mind are Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie; the reason why I mention these men is because all of them (I’m pretty sure) dropped out of elementary school and ended up taking on apprenticeships or other forms of work where they learnt what they needed to know that eventually lead to their success. But there are other people in todays world such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (well these two did drop out). Actually here’s a good list of successful people without a university degree. The point is that a lot of these people either taught themselves, were taught by a parent, through a trade, or received all their education up to the high school level and had no further use to be wasting their time sitting in a class room all day.
What strikes me the most though are those people who dropped out of school at the elementary level and continued to educate themselves, or it was their parents that educated them. These days anyone can get a basic education from elementary to high school, but does that mean that people are better off because of it? I would disagree. Going by my experiences in school and looking back to my primary and high school education, I can honestly say that I wasn’t taught a thing (with the exception of maths). And I know that a lot of other students felt the same way, however the difference between me and them was that I wanted to learn, whilst a lot of my peers simply didn’t and I know that a lot of them would actually be worse off today in terms of reading, writing, math, than they were back then. What’s worse is that the form of education we had in high school was full of left-wing propaganda and this is far worse than having no education at all; where you’re being taught not to be objective, but to see the world through a certain bias and you’re unable to think otherwise because you’ve been near brainwashed, or conditioned, to think in that way.
The other thing about univeristies today are the pointless degrees/majors they offer. Things like business, communications, gender studies, and others. You really don’t need a degree for business since such a discipline is best learnt by working in an actual business, or doing your own research/study to open up one. I won’t get into the likes of ‘communications’ and ‘gender studies’. But an important point that I should make is that these days, even more so, a degree isn’t necessary because of the quick availability of knowledge through the internet, and this is something so useful and advantageous compared to past decades/eras/centuries. You’d expect people to be more educated these days as a result of things like “free education” and the fact that knowledge is so easily attainable via the internet, but I’ve come to realise that the opposite is true. It’s interesting that in past eras where knowledge would have been so hard to come by, compared to todays standards, was taken so seriously and seen as something so sacred that people literally soaked it all up at every opportunity. Now I know that not everyone had the same access in those past times (I’m talking about 19th century to early 1900s), but the point is that knowledge was taken seriously.
I might seem hypocritical since I am currently enrolled in an Electrical Engineering degree, and probably even more so hypocritical since I’m not exactly paying for it (the type of system that exists in Australia is one where you can defer your payments, to have the Commonwealth pay your fees, and you end up paying them back through your tax once you start earning a certain level income), but at the end of the day I still disagree with this type of system (and if the type of system existed where I could afford to pay for it, where taxes were far lower, where there was greater competition amongst private universities and my parents could have had the opportunity to save, then I would gladly pay). I’m only doing a degree because I want to become an Engineer and these days that can only be achieved by getting that piece of paper at the end. The other reason is that growing up in an immigrant family, my parents were always making out university to be the “be all end all” sort of thing, and they grew up in a country where going to university was seen as something so amazing and highly intellectual (communist propaganda). I have nothing against them though for urging me to go to university, even when at one point I stated that I didn’t want to. Plus they came here for a better life, and it would kinda seem like a bit of a ‘waste’ if I weren’t to take advantage of a lot of the opportunities that this country has to offer, compared with the dump that I came from.
There are other points I wanted to discuss, but this has already become rather long so I’ll leave it here.