From time to time, someone from Europe tells me about how they do things over there. The European model is basically no tuition, but you only get to go if you’re one of the best students who’s proven that you can succeed in your major (because after all you’re asking society to make an investment in you). This does sound like a superior system to me; the incentives are better. The American system is for universities to enrich themselves by convincing as many dumb kids as possible to enroll, attract government funds, pile on debt, and then drop out. Thus our self-created “retention problem”. The US has a preposterously high tertiary school enrollment rate; I’d guess that any student spending his time protesting shouldn’t have been admitted in the first place. True, our students are more free to make foolish choices to enroll in programs they can’t complete or won’t help them, but I see no value in such a freedom. Plus we deliberately attract dumb students with silly course offerings and elaborate amenities, so bad decisions are not only allowed but encouraged. American higher education has a great reputation because of its research programs (although even there, it’s been pointed out that revolutions in science have significantly slowed down since America displaced Europe), but considered as an education system it doesn’t make much sense.
Filed under: Uncategorized |