I’m going to be putting out WIE (When I’m Elected) posts from time to time, giving you sneak previews of how a country would work under my regime. This is the first post in that series, so I’d be really interested in hearing from all you readers what you think about it.
First off, though, I have to confess something. I haven’t really decided in which country I’d like to get elected, so you happen to be in luck. With enough persuasion, yours could be the lucky country!
One of the major changes I plan to introduce is in the educational sector regarding colleges. Once I’m elected, it would no longer be necessary to go through college to get a degree.
There will be standard exam, or series of such exams, and upon completion of them one would be awarded a degree. It would be held at a national level, and a separate commission would be allocated the task for preparing the exam. This grants individuals the opportunity to earn a degree without sinking into college debt. By offering an alternative, in this case an independent pursuit of a degree, I would be challenging the monopoly that colleges, as an institution, have established over the educational sector.
There would be different exams for different degrees; the exam for Master’s degree would obviously differ from that of a Doctorate degree. Certain exams, such as those for Doctorate degrees, would also have prerequisites, for instance prior experience in a field, research in a field, and such.
How exactly would one pursue a degree independently? Books containing study material for the exams would be released in the market for individuals to purchase. All the books would be published by a single publication. However, should any other publication offer to publish better quality at cheaper price, I would award the contract to them. This would ensure strict competition keeping a check on price of the books.
Along with this, I would be providing free soft copies of the books to all those falling below a certain minimum income level. All one has to do to obtain the degree is show up on the date of the exams, which I plan to hold annually, and score a passing grade. This would produce a standardized value for all the degrees depending upon the grade achieved rather than the institution which awarded the degree.
Individuals who feel that they would require assistance in attempting the exams can hire tutors to help them. These tutors would likely be more affordable than four years’ worth of college. Teaching opportunities would grow. With individuals attaining degrees by themselves or through help of tutors, the demand for college is bound to drop, and if the demand supply theory holds true, the college tuitions would plummet as well.
Individuals would also have the liberty of deciding when to give the exams and for how long to prepare. In a constantly changing market environment, this measure would also act as a flexible means for proving knowledge of different subjects. Degrees would act as a formal certificate proving an individual’s adequacy in a particular field, and an individual’s opportunities would not need to remain restricted to a certain area and can span across a spectrum.
Under the college system, we have to decide by our mid twenties what we would like to do, and what would benefit one in life. But how can one know the future? How can one be certain that the industry which shows promise today wouldn’t sink in the next decade or two? To remain versatile is arguably one’s best bet, and my measure would make jackal of all trades a feasible option.
My measures would put a degree in the financial reach of all citizens, lower college tuitions for those adamant in experiencing the college life, offer flexibility and ease in attaining job proficiency, abolish differences in treatment of degrees on the basis of the institutions which granted them, and most importantly grant employees security by enabling them to adapt to changing environments.