On Education

Published on Jul 15, 20204 min read19 views

Introduction

We cannot control the family we're born into or the place we're born in. Decisions about our future are made from the moment we're born, not by our parents, but by our family's socioeconomic status. Most important among those decisions - how privileged we will be in the future when it comes to education, social status, opportunities and wealth. It is well documented in several reports, that our socioeconomic status at birth informs our privilege and therefore opportunities.

Educations Role in our Future

Quality Education plays a fairly large role in our opportunities as we grow. Quality Education is a means to opportunities and wealth among other things. The fact that education is become more about the institution as opposed to the actual learning, requires a much deeper post, not this one. Anyway, education is something that's in our control - an opportunity to define our future by ourselves. Every parent aspires to put their child through the best institutions with the best quality education. No parent, with means, would willingly chose to provide a poor education to their child.

Unfortunately, Access to quality education, in the traditional sense via educational institutions, is available to those with the means. Education via institutions does come with its own costs after all - infrastructure, staff, teachers et al. All those costs increase as the brand of the institution becomes more widely known. Definitely not cheap. I continue to stress on education via institutions because our world rigidly continues to look at "brand names" on our profiles as a lazy filter. This topic, again, infuriates me, but doesn't deserve time on this post.

Education Should be Free

I personally believe that education should be widely available, at the same quality and at low or no cost, to the last individual who seeks it. I have been deeply inspired by Aaron Swartz who was determined to make information freely available to all. He is the founder of RSS and Reddit. Aaron was arrested on breaking-and-entering charges after he connected one of MIT's servers that stored academic research papers (JSTOR platform) and uploaded it online, making it freely available to anyone. If you haven't already, I strongly encourage you to watch this documentary on Aaron Swartz - he's a legend in my books.

Anyway, the reason I believe Quality Education should be freely available is that the institution we receive an education from should not decide the economic opportunities we receive in the future. Actual learning should. The application of our education should. The costs of receiving the quality education are prohibitive to the mass of those who seek it. A person who studied at Harvard doesn't imply that they are more intellectual / knowledgeable compared to someone from an unknown college. The latter, unfortunately has to struggle a lot more to get equity in economic opportunities.

Further, with ongoing technological advances, its easier today to access to world's wealth of information. That as well comes with its own challenges of the "problem of plenty" - the internet fire hose as they call it. But it is cheaper, faster and higher quality to access the latest information online. It does require structuring that information to a program, but that's solvable. Capitalism, in its ambition to make more money, will seek out the shifting behaviours and adapt business models. I just hope those business models embed economies of scale and make quality education affordable to those without the means.

Conclusion

Lastly, I believe that mere access to education doesn't mean anything. What one does with that education is what truly differentiates one from another. It filters out the lazy ones from the self starters and really levels the playing field when it comes to economic opportunities in the future. Imagine a world where we could post-pay for education based on outcomes. It's an ideal scenario that comes with its own challenges but it's worth pondering on.

Do let me know your thoughts on making education free of cost. I'd be keen to ideate with people that think deeply about this topic and spend time in this sector.

Onward.

Note: All blogs posts till 2022 were migrated to this platform (react+next+tailwind). While all efforts were made to migrate wihtout any loss, the migration lost some images and broke a bunch of links in old posts. If you spot anything amiss, please notify me?