What is the benefit and the point of a university education? Is it usable in purely tangible terms or is it mostly to look good on your CV?
Some people argue that you only really start learning something in the workplace, and that education is a platform upon which to build.
Others claim that the acquisition of knowledge is an eternally refillable resource in the life-long learning process.
A third argument, set out clearly in a book by an American economist, is that rather than increasing a student’s skill set, a degree simply signals various qualities associated with the person who has completed the program, to a future employer.
Higher education provides numerous things in addition to pure knowledge within a number of subjects. Even though this is probably not as revolutionary in a person’s life as learning to walk or to read. However, I think there are similarities in the sense that you gain a different perspective and there is a dividing line between before and after you choose to pursue further studies.
There are many aspects to take into account here, but for the sake of simplicity, I would like to use myself as an example.
- It offers the opportunity for you as a person to follow and further develop your curiosity. This, in turn, offers the opportunity to see connections and associations in a new way, based on factual knowledge.
- A university education helps you to find new ways to acquire new and even more in-depth knowledge.
- It gives you the tools and the rigour to critically review and analyse theories, in a hopefully independent way. It also gives you solid self-confidence in the necessary art of inquiry – particularly usable in times of fake news and misleading manoeuvres from different directions and in different channels.
- For someone like me, without a long-standing academic tradition in my family, a university education means a more equal position from which to both express myself and base my actions upon.
Knowledge is incredibly multifaceted. Our society would be much poorer if someone were to prescribe exactly which programs are useful and which are superfluous. Sometimes, it is simply impossible to know what breakthroughs are being made and by whom. A breadth of higher education programs creates many opportunities for both individuals and society. Freedom of choice in education is important to safeguard if we are to continue to be able to create new values for people.