I am meeting people who do not have higher education more and more often. Most of them entered the universities at one time but fled from there during the second or third year of study, because they saw no sense to continue this kind of education. Now they are quite successful people.
The explanation they provide is simple: the university is outdated. And they do not mean the specific educational institution, it is about the university in general. The world changes so rapidly nowadays that the knowledge gained throughout those five years of official education lose its relevance, and usually the profession itself may disappear from the labor market within such a short period of time.
And, after all, how often do Ukrainian employers pay attention to the actual diploma? Usually, if a profession does not require a specific training (like medicine), employers give much more weight to the candidate’s CV or personal interview rather than a diploma. It was possible to buy a diploma for a long time in Ukraine, so there is no wonder that nobody takes it serious any more.
Goethe described it quite precisely yet in the first monologue of his “Faust”:
I’ve studied now Philosophy
And Jurisprudence, Medicine —
And even, alas! Theology —
From end to end, with labor keen;
And here, poor fool! with all my lore
I stand, no wiser than before:
I’m Magister — yea, Doctor — hight,
And straight or cross-wise, wrong or right,
These ten years long, with many woes,
I’ve led my scholars by the nose —
And see, that nothing can be known!
(translated by Bayard Taylor)
And that is because the university is not supposed to give any knowledge. The purpose of the university is not to insert any idea into the student’s head. The aim of the university is to teach the student to think on his own, to give him or her the keys and tools to look for knowledge, and not the knowledge itself. Any knowledge ages and vanishes from memory, while skills, acquired abilities and the habit of thinking remain with us for good.
Therefore, two or three years of studying are enough for many people to understand how the system works, or it is better to say how it does not work because it is behind the times. What is the point in writing down the date of birth of Panteleimon Kulish, if this date can be easily found in all the books and online?
Why does a student have to listen to a dozen of unnecessary courses if he or she would like to do something specific? Certain specialty or some basic understanding of simple modern profession can be mastered within a time-span of several weeks to several months. It is an anachronism to spend five senseless years at the university desk in order to make a special place for the diploma in the cupboard after graduation.
It is enough “to be at the ball”, see a few lectures on YouTube, read a book or two, apply for some training and the desired job will soon be yours.
You will never hear it from the university professors though. After all, they need a job too ;-).