Rewriting the Educational Narrative for Growth and Innovation

It is National Education Week in the US, with the current state of education in many parts of the world today in flux. Without doubt, the current system is more than broken given its inability to deliver on value domestically and internationally for many students.

A 2019 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that just 27 percent of university graduates actually worked in a field related to their major. This means four years or more of tuition was wasted. With such low numbers, it’s almost a collegiate ponzi scheme. The current US student debt stands at 1.59 trillion (that’s right, TRILLION) which adds to unbelievability that US students are allowed to participate in a university system that produces more debt than field specialists and; where the majority of college educated Americans are not working in their field.

The US Department of Education recently announced 2 billion in student loan relief from the infrastructure bill passed in November 2021. The allocation is slated to help about 33,000 borrowers.

With the advent of Covid-19, The 565.7 billion dollar US higher education industry and system was thrown into flux along with world education systems everywhere. Not only higher education, but the entire system from K-12 stands at a reckoning. For the first time the US government suspended individual higher education debt payments in a society that churned to an indefinite standstill with Americans unable to make a living. The incredulity and duplicity of a system that saddled young adults and teens with life-long moribund loans in the false promise of a lucrative major-specific job within a few months became clear. When any college graduate in the US is working in food service joints or retail that is an indictment of a broken system–not individuals. Education no longer works with industry–it works within industry to create profits rather than supply the components (human capital) to support industy and economy.

“You’ll be earning in your field within 12 months,” they said in slick college guides and prospectus mailed seasonally to SAT takers. Most American students didn’t know they were a “market,” being cleverly targeted by for-profit and nonprofit colleges, predatory federal and commercial loaning entities and even credit cards and home goods stores.

But where has that landed the population and the economy with an educational model that never considered the future–only the profits? Clearly, it has landed US education somewhere near to many industries in the US, who just a few decades earlier shipped all of their manufacturing abroad. And like massive outsourcing, education has become the clusterfire that it is today. In fact if every small outsourcing nation today collectively refused to ship to the West on any day–any day, collapse would be imminent. The current system is falling apart and everyone sees it.

Sadly, many developing nations followed this education model rabbit hole which has produced graduates that cannot adequately raise the standards of the nations from which they come. This is because the education that many developing countries embarked upon was not focused toward sustainability or nation-building. Many developing economies educated their elite and youth in educational systems designed to orient the individual toward the West. Never asking the question, that if those systems were so great, why didn’t they produce the kind of graduates that would transform their own nations and make their economies truly competitive on the world market?

It is hard to have national pride when you are learning about the heroes of another civilization instead of your own. It is difficult to maintain a youth’s interest in critical local endeavors when s/he has been oriented to solving “First world problems” far from home. It is equally difficult to continue the development process working with foreign ideas that value FDI over local sweat equity and international direction over home grown self-determination.

Do these ideas of education make nations turn inward and become less effective in the modern world? The simple answer is, no. A nation better equipped with an educated populace, competently engaged in every endeavor of their society makes a better nation able to stand in the world arena and contribute–or even provide international or regional leadership as called upon to create greater stability.

True, the educational contributions of Dewy, Lord Bentick, Boyd or Lord Babington Macaulay and others had their merit–but mostly for Western societies that operate within certain cultural thought normatives that are not necessarily shared by most of the world. The time has come to abandon the old ideologies that clearly don’t work–and stop trying to salvage a system that disadvantaged most non-Western states. Opting instead for solutions that build resilience instead of co-dependency.

Even during some of these formative times when Western secret societies were growing and formulating, they were based off of Western concepts of education, power, finance and national life. And while for a time these societies and lodges have grown, they, like education tend to pivot its non-western members toward concepts and paradigms that don’t truly benefit them, their societies or way of life. Instead they leave ruin and war, because they just don’t fit. Many do not know that various African nations had (and some still do) their own secret societies and affiliations that championed its own values and interests. The West now often begrudges China’s CCP inner politburo because it has a similar function–like a secret lodge or scholarly society which does not altogether follow Western ideals and which functions for its own benefit and sustainability in the world.

Such societal “think tanks,” do not develop in a vaccum. They emerge from a proper or adequate understanding of your society and civilization which can only be conferred by a competent civilizationally relevant educational system. This is not an edictment of rhe West, but of following models that clearly dont work. Education must change throughout the world, and everyone knows it. However, it is those who better tailor their systems to realistically serve their people, add value to society and support civilizational ideals that will succed. They will succeed in not only preparing the next generation for success, but also leading the world through production of highly qualified, properly self-identified and technically competent citizens ready to innovate.

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