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License To A Good Life, Or Is It?
Wisdom Letter #48 | The Value of Education
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“Its an insurance policy?”
“Its a long term investment?"
“Its a 4 year frat party?“
No, its our higher-ed system!
In the popular board-game “Game of Life” the very first choice you must make is whether you want to go to college or get on with your career right away!
Choosing to go to college entails a large debt right the top of the game, but it also opens up the player to “college careers” with higher base salaries and possibly unlimited max salaries. (Not going to college means picking a “blue collar career” card with low base salaries and capped max salaries.)
Getting the right career card will almost ensure your victory in the game. You know, cards like “lawyer”, “accountant” and “doctor”. And you get access to these right careers only if you pick college and a load of debt at the beginning.
Isn’t that how we view education in reality as well?
Just as a spring board to an “easy” life? A simple way to win the game at the very beginning?
But is that the sole purpose of education? Does it just boil down to an ROI calculation?
Can the future income an educational degree promises, service the present debt that it entails?
And Is that all we should even care about?
Or does education mean something more? Something more valuable than money or status?
Does education help society in churning out well rounded individuals who take the world forward?
What role did your education play in your life?
And what was your relationship with your alma-mater?
Did your college provide you a service in the education that you got? Or did it deliver to you a product in the form of a completion degree?
Do you see your education as a solution to all your life’s problems by equipping you with the skills required to lead a full life?
Or is it about being able to get the job that you always dreamed about?
And how do you think of all of this in the middle of a pandemic? Where we know most of education is going to be remote and online.
Does the physical campus of an institute provide any value over and above the promised education and degree?
What about the hostels and the dorms, the canteens and the mess?
What about the numerous serendipitous encounters with fellow students and faculty?
Perhaps the real question we must ask is, what is the real value of a college without its campus?
And if they are not able to provide the same campus experience then should colleges make a few exemptions in the fees that they charge?
Your expectation from your college is what helps you decide which college to get into, how much debt to take for it. And it also decides if years later, you look back to regret or be thankful for taking the plunge.
Today on The Wisdom Project, we try to see the value of a college.
We examine if we are living in a higher-ed bubble. We see how already existing cracks in our ed-systems are exposed and accentuated by this pandemic. We also learn how we can make the use of our education to go to uncharted territories in these uncertain times.
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Thanks for reading, see you next Sunday.
Aditi & Ayush