The education explosion is positively terrifying. More and more people are acquiring more and more degrees. All over the world there is a fascination with the business of building schools and putting people through them. Employers are demanding higher standards of general education for even menial jobs.
The tendency is not without its critics. For example, some in Australia have recently asked whether it is a good thing to shut such large numbers of our youth in schools for such a large proportion of their youth. They ask whether it would not be better to let them get out into the world of commerce or industry with less formal education and more opportunity to adjust to the area in which they will make their careers while they are still at an adaptable age.
At the outset let me make it clear that I am on the side of the educators. Whether this be the result of powerful independent thought or whether I am simply repeating by rote what many educators have put into me, I am for education. I want to see more and better education.
But I recognize that the phenomena of the modern world are forcing us to ask questions. We ought not to hold unthinkingly that education in and of itself is good. We must ask ourselves what we are educating for and whether our education is succeeding in securing those aims.
For the fact is that in the world into which all these better-educated young people are pouring, problems are multiplying. It is true that on the one hand technology is enabling us to produce more attractive gadgets than ever before. Our lives are more comfortable than ever. We have more attractive ways of wasting our time than any previous generation. But on the other hand we are not happy. It is a time of great student discontent. ...1