Free up education, more random thoughts.

I guess I got a little carried away on my last post. I was hoping to create some controversy but only got one comment, and that seemed to agree with me.

There are many dedicated teachers and university professors. However, most of the insitutions where they work enjoy a variety of monopolies. They issue tickets called degrees or diplomas. They have the inside track on funding from government and foundations. With that have come inefficiencies and unfairness.

Somehow the issuing of tickets or diplomas should be handled by other institutions, not the universities and colleges themselves. We should have testing organizations that develop in depth tests of peoples’ abilities and knowledge, in depth and not multiple choice. These tests should include evaluating the ability of people to express what they know and relevant ideas, clearly and persuasively.

The learners should accumulate portfolios of what they have done in a particular field, whether in work or in study, whether at school A or school B or with professor C or via self-study. Then they should submit to an intense review of what they claim to know to have it confirmed by the testing organization. If confirmed, they get their ticket.

No need to attend any particular school for 4 years, cram into crowded lecture halls, or listen to poor teachers. The learner can develop his/her own strategy. The learner can hire coaches or get the help of friends. Courses should be offered on the Internet in a variety of media for download to computer, hand held or iPod. Government support for education should go to the learners directly, not via the schools. The education sector will develop the products and services to help the learners.

But I am dreaming. Can technology break the monopoly of organized education? Why should people who did not have the marks or the money be excluded from learning what is taught at university? If they learn on their own, why should they not get the ticket? Why should the university have a monopoly on the issuing of diplomas?

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