Universities are a Thing of the Past?

Opinion of the YT contributor and a founder of the "Council," a think-tank for The Internet of Things Rob van Kranenburg

I have very fond memories of the times I spent studying as well as teaching at a university and I therefore find this very hard to say but today I advise young people not to go to university anymore. Today’s world corresponds to an entirely different reality and I don’t recommend that young people invest their time and money into conventional educational institutions.  Universities and colleges are relics of the past centuries.

Presently, highly specialized education is losing their relevance. Gone are the days when the most comprehensive source of information was a university library or the authority of a teacher. Now, if you have the ability and desire to obtain a wide range of knowledge that can be applied in any sphere of life, then the different networks (social, professional, international) have the capacity to provide you with endless possibilities of obtaining the necessary information. In addition, no amount of education can force us to become optimistic and positive, or inculcate high moral values, or turn us into energetic and productive workers.  This is a question of upbringing and self-improvement. All these factors make an expensive university education obsolete. What you get for your money is a few years of lectures, during which, instead of receiving the full attention of the teacher you will be given only the minimum of personal contact, as specified by schedule. Today, it is much easier to learn from qualified and result-oriented teachers working online. Your network of peers can also serve as important teachers.

The older generations (myself included) are becoming rapidly useless when it comes to learning in an online environment (sharing, collaborating, visualizing, multi-tasking, etc.). The reason is that our generation was raised on a book paradigm which is organized around the hierarchical structures of a need-to-know strategy, which keeps things secret and slows down innovation. Now, however, information and knowledge resources are available to a wide range of users.  All you need is a willingness to gain access to it.

While arguing over this controversial topic, I don’t mean in any way to offend my own generation of 35-40-year-olds. For most of us, our Alma Mater will always remain a starting point, defining our path through the chaos of life events. And, of course, I do not call on young people to completely deny the principles of academic schooling and completely reorient themselves towards the system of total self-education. Certainly, the experience and knowledge of the older generation, their attitudes and value systems may be useful for young people. At a minimum, it is worth paying attention to. But the fact is that all this you can quickly and easily obtain not from a university professor but from your grandma.

Photo: Shutterstock

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