Daniel Lemire's blog

, 2 min read

Do not think you have to go to college

There was a day when books were expensive. Then they became cheaper during the last century. Getting in touch with peers was still expensive for a time, but now, you can call, message and email people very efficiently for next to no money. But lectures were still expensive for a time too. Except that now, you can watch, online, for free, lectures given out by Turing Award recipients. It is only a matter of time before someone figures out a better way to get an education than attending 3 hours of lecture in a dirty classroom every week. This model came out because books, chats, and lectures were expensive. It is no longer the case. We need to move on.

In fact, the infamous Will Richardson says you don’t have to go college:

For most of your young lives, you’ve heard your mom and I occasionally talk about your futures by saying that someday you’ll travel off to college and get this thing called a degree that will show everyone that you are an expert in something and that will lead you to getting a good job that will make you happy and make you able to raise a family of your own someday. At least, that’s what your mom and I have in our heads when we talk about it. But, and I haven’t told your mom this yet, I’ve changed my mind. I want you to know that you don’t have to go to college if you don’t want to, and that there are other avenues to achieving that future that may be more instructive, more meaningful, and more relevant than getting a degree.

Stephen Downes has nailed it with a very sensible question:

(…) are the positive aspects only possible via traditional schools? Could kids obtain (vs. create) these positive aspects without the need for traditional schools?

The answer, for me, is clearly yes. We absolutely need to sit down and rethink our educational models. They are obselete.