A monopoly we might not need

Minister Blade Nzimande spoke recently about opening entry points to SA universities, which would include mature-age exemptions and re-looking at the matric-certificate route.

It is true that universities are expensive, and necessarily privileged. Degrees offer credentials that are verifiable, whether you’ve got the career knowledge or not. They’re almost like possessing brand name clothing; like wearing Levi jeans.

I think this post from Salon has reference. Kent Pitman argues that the basic role of higher education is to get the fundamentals of your career – and “people who argue that it must be a touchy-feely, life-affirming experience are, I think, betraying their lack of understanding of their personally privileged financial status.”

Pitman mentions some interesting ways of dealing differently with education.

They include: Mandatory Public Service – in the army, through public works or humanitarian tasks – as a means to giving all a common frame of reference. “Coming to college after experiencing the world and its challenges might leave students with a sense of perspective that could motivate and focus them better.”

Lifelong Learning: repeated visits to college, in order to accommodate 4 – perhaps 5 – different jobs in a lifetime.

Alternate Sources of Learning: co-op programs and technical schools

Pitman concludes by saying, “I’m hoping that the silver lining of bad economic times will be that as people are dissuaded from pursuing traditional universities, they don’t just give up.

“Instead, they should take the opportunity the present situation provides, be brave, and start paving the way to the future by trying out some new ideas that might be both cheaper and just as effective—if not more so.”

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