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The excerpt, “The Case against College”, by Caroline Bird, presents arguments that highlight the insignificance of college education. According to Bird, a significant percent of college students do not derive anything valuable from their college education. On the opposite, most college students just waste their time in college campuses rather than using this time to gain experience in the real world and start taking responsibilities. Bird argues that individuals have different gifts and thus creating a framework that benchmarks individual achievements in accordance to a universal higher education fails to respect differences between people.
Bird focuses on three major concepts whose analysis highlights the insignificant impacts college education has. First, Bird argues that education has become an industry whose main objective, just like other industries is to expand market dominance. The author supports this assertion by citing annual spending by institutions of higher education in marketing exercises. This demonstrates that colleges have become more market-oriented rather than focusing on the main objective of education, which is to impart knowledge. Secondly, Bird describes college environment as unexciting for most students whom she observed to be unhappy in the colleges that she visited. Bird uses this to illustrate the factor that not all individuals derive satisfaction by going to college. Furthermore, she uses dull scenario in colleges to demonstrate that college education is a system whose main purpose is to keep students way from the society. Thus, most students just pass time in college to observe the formality created by the society. While some individuals go to college as a simple formality, others view college as an opportunity to avoid various responsibilities (Bird 32). Bird argues that colleges act as safe haven for individuals who continue to demand financial support from parents and use taxpayers’ money. This aspect promotes irresponsibility among college students and introduces a burden for parents and other concerned parties.
Bird’s arguments concerning higher education highlight various factors, which depict the ineffectiveness of the current system of education. Although, the key objective for education is to enlighten and imparting knowledge, moreover, the way the system operates leaves many individuals dissatisfied. The current education system fails to consider that people have different abilities and thus should not be subject to a similar system of goal realization. While some individuals have the ability to tackle science-related subjects, others are good in arts or humanities. The education system fails to consider these disparities and seeks to impart knowledge and enlighten students under the same framework. This approach contributes to frustrating and a gloomy learning environment. Hence, although student may have interest in self-actualization, the system introduces barriers in their endeavors. When individuals perceive college education as a hindrance to their personal goals and interests, they start to lack interest in learning. Such instances force individuals to drop out of college or just pass time as they await the completion of the stipulated period of study, and then pursue their own interests. This may turn a college into a factory for irresponsible individuals who deceive parents and other concerned parties to continue funding their education.
The aspect of marketing institutions of higher learning highlights the lack of a standardized college education. This has varying effects on a student’s learning depending on the college attended. It portrays a scenario whereby some colleges use better systems of learning compared to others. Consequently, the college that a student attends determines his or her level of self-actualization. The fact that some colleges produce better graduates compared to other colleges highlights the lack of standards in college education. Colleges that want to attain considerable market appeal to adopt systems that ensure they create productive graduates. An effective education system should guarantee optimal results from a candidate irrespective of the college attended. The extensiveness of marketing institutions highlights a shift in the objectives of such institutions towards money-oriented facilities of knowledge.
Education has become an integral part of the society. People view education as a crucial tool that every parent should ensure his or her child possess to compete effectively in life. The overemphasis on education has forced parents/guardians, irrespective of their financial status, to ensure that children access education facilities and observe the formality in the society. Thus, going to college may not elicit inspiration of excitement for a student; he or she has to attend college in order not to appear as an outcast. Parents ensure that all their children go through the education system ignore any objections in this regard. Although parents and the society may force children to go to college, however, they cannot force them to read. In this regard, individuals will go to college to avoid disrespecting the elders rather than in pursuance of self-actualization (Rosen 31). Enrolling in college without any meaningful purpose introduces a lot of free time for college students. Time wastage in college is further enhanced by the lenient system of administration which considers that college students are mature enough to make their own decisions. College students with minimal parental supervision who lack self-drive and discipline can rarely attain anything meaningful through college education.
Since college education is for people with the capacity to make personal decisions, parents and the society should allow individuals to decide whether to enroll or not. This will ensure that individuals pursue their own interests and achieve self-actualization. In addition, colleges should provide a variety of choices to accommodate diverse interest. The society should not subject individuals who do not intend to attend college and should not criticize and discriminate. The overemphasis on education, as a tool to safeguard one’s future, has led to the lack of consideration for other aspects which do not relate to education, however, are the appropriate fields for some individuals. The narrow scope of education hinders individuals from effectively exploiting their abilities. The fact that some renowned inventors, entrepreneurs and other great people dropped out of college to pursue interests that gave them self-actualization highlights the need for a flexible system for college education. These individuals perceived the world outside the college as the most suitable place to actualize their dreams.
Although Bird highlights the inadequacy concerning institutions of higher education, she does not provide a comprehensive analysis of the appropriate ways to improve future college education. The concerned stakeholders should establish measures that seek to identify an individual’s abilities during the early stages of learning. This will ensure that individuals pursue whatever inspires and excites them the most. Furthermore, colleges should provide support to individuals who intent to pursue goals that may conflict with the traditional routine in college learning as long as these goals enhance productivity and the overall betterment of the society.
While education is a crucial tool for imparting knowledge, it should not act as a standard for evaluating individual abilities and achievements. Bird’s assertion that college education is more of a formality rather than a stage for self-actualization highlights the need to redesign the education system and incorporate measures that facilitate the betterment of individual lives. Although the society may view the completion of college education as an important step in one’s live, such an education system contains flaws if it does not facilitated the self-actualization of an individual. An effective education system should promote the realization of personal goals and interests irrespective of how diverse they may seem.