The argument may arise in a family gathering, in a talk with friends, or it may break out before the constant reproach by the side of parents, teachers and career counseling advisors. In general, it starts by talking about the future and the way of projecting oneself, and derives almost inevitably to issues related to what kind of accreditations you get, the level of education in different universities, among other matters. It is striking the way in which the conversation seems to be always configured so as to deal only with few points (the choice of a course of studies, a university, etc.), avoiding a deep analysis of subjacent and more transcendental topics, being represented a kind of “retouched” dialogue which tries to replace a true interchange.
In this way, one has the feeling that when the moment to decide arrives, the average teenager already has the answer to a question that perhaps has never been posed. Starting from the prerogative that in order to acquire knowledge and tools to face the working world one should go to the university, the following step after finishing the secondary school appears as something quite obvious. Even the gap-year, which eventually could be useful to denaturalize the option by default and develop other alternatives, has been turning into another step of the academic program, a short break before immersing oneself in all of this.
Now, not much time is devoted to disassemble this axiom, for example trying to firstly assess how something so schematic such as a diploma has become a measure of achievements and failures, flattening the analysis of the individual potentialities and problems. Even, it could be said that we’ve reached a point at which obtaining certain status, certain official recognition has turned into a goal itself –how comforting is being able to write the “Ph.D” next to the proper name on the MSN or on the head of an e-mail! Before this situation, it could be worth asking about the perspectives of finding really critical and original points of view taking into consideration that what is fostered in this paradigm of teaching is precisely the search of accreditation at any cost. It could be quite naïve to expect judgments with certain autonomy, or which be less complacent towards the same institution which issues the so coveted educative accreditations.
Which are the consequences of being thought in a specialized manner? Some of the results of this vibe can be observed nowadays in the dissociation spread in the majority of the professional fields, where the split of the individual into many facets, which most of the times are antagonistic, is promoted (such as what was happily shown last year in a “Gatorade” commercial). It should not be dismissed the impact that carries the fact of being conceived as a multitude of beings living together under the same roof, or as a mixture of tasks carried out or knowledge gained. In the same way, there is apparently a very clear and differentiated notion of the moral obligations and the ethical principles appearing “on” and “off duty”, legitimizing ideological inconsistency, but above all, the lack of personal transparence.(Previous articles related: "Shadows of a fragmentation race").
A panorama of uncertainty arisen from the current economic crisis, which highlights the damage caused by this merely functional view of the individuals fomented by the academy, is added to what has been previously said. However, before this situation, instead of going into the contradictions of the model in deep, or noticing if a scheme that fosters the ultra-specification is not something counterproductive within an unsteady and changing scenario, the analysis is centered exclusively on the usefulness of “investing” on a higher education, as a series of published articles clearly show.
Although it is understandable that this approach is the most immediate one during a strong recession, with the high costs of the formal education and the enormous debts owed by the students in some countries (even a well-known newspaper has offered the public a “College Cost Caculator”), the phenomenon requires another kind of depth regarding its explanation. Perhaps it is a matter of spotting where the axis of the debate is placed. So, it is worth pondering about the effects of schooling in which people are conceived as pieces that interlock into a great machinery (an idea probably shared by the majority of professionals). To start from a fragmented predisposition certainly limits the way in which we thought ourselves. On the other side, understanding that the substrate from which this mentality is fed involves in part some fear, a scarce global visibility and the confinement of the imagination, maybe let us face other less busy routes. It could be considered that not having a secure labor horizon after graduating is part of a greater -and much more significant- problem which transcends the socio-economic variables: the general difficulty in projecting oneself in life.
The scene is completed with the lack of proposals which pose a distance from traditional roles and encourage sustainable alternatives of human development and strategic planning. To visualize less conventional options to the learning process and one’s training is undoubtedly a great challenge in a culture accustomed to think of institutions rather than self-arranged projects, and degrees as a symbol of the progress or the stagnation. Perhaps, the recent crisis which set out in a way an organizational debacle may inspire a certain spirit of rupture and catapult new initiatives.
The impulse of stepping aside of the determined path may arise at any time, during a family dinner, a talk with friends… at any moment where lucidity and a questioning attitude are present. An appropriate detour to a more independent and hopeful construction.
En sintonía con esta editorial quería agregar un material que salió la semana pasada (http://open.salon.com/blog/eric_... ) y que me parece que aporta al tema. En este caso se trata de una pequeña nota escrita por un joven norteamericano recién egresado de la facultad, en la cual se puede observar el dudoso criterio –por momentos extremadamente simplista y naif– con el que se analizan las disfuncionalidades del modelo universitario. Digo, si para considerar más o menos razonable la opción de ir a la universidad hay que compararse con criminales juveniles sin título secundario, o incluso agradecer que uno no esté “tan endeudado” o tenga que irse a vivir con los padres, el argumento a favor parece bastante endeble…
Para cerrar, ante la imposibilidad de enfrentar el mundo “real” el protagonista fantasea con la vuelta al ámbito académico, tal vez un destino más común del que imagina dada la dificultad de muchos jóvenes para proyectarse en la vida…