Valuing Higher Education

Education in itself is innate, yet a virtue. Under the notion of “survival of the fittest” very often the “fittest” becomes synonymous with the smartest, for one needs to be well educated on how to survive. With that being said, almost all socieities globally have made it the responsibility of the standing government, or those in power rather, to create an educationally productive society. An educated society then can become a mobile society, and this global aspiration towards mobility is what I believed fueled the marketability of education. As an institution that functions beyond the individual, state, country, etc. education is constantly subject to manipulation as usage as a weapon or tool for advancement. And with this framework, I argue that the value of higher education is contingent upon the other constructions of the society. Hence, we need to question not only the value of higher education, but also the values of the society.

For the rest of this response, I will be speaking in terms of American as my immediate society. I would define America as a democratically capitalist society that values economics more than anything. Accordingly, higher education is valued by our society such that economics always come first. This is manifested mainly in two ways: pursuing higher education solely for purposes of economic success, and high education being constructed such that it is economically prosperous. So to some extent, secondary education in America is valued as a gateway to achieve what the “country’s” goal is, economic prosperity.

Personally, I do not find this acceptable, and as an alternative believe that America should remove dogma around economics. If we focused on social equality as much as we did on Economics, higher education would produce a more equitable and benevolent society. This would ultimately look like colleges and universities valuing fields such as Critical Theory, Social Justice, and Sociology (and not the ism-washed nuanced one that only focuses on the science) as much as they do the S.T.E.M fields. The obsession over economically prosperous practicality is frankly what I believe to be the plague of higher education.

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