School and learning are two separate entities. A school is a place, where occasionally, learning can be found. Learning, on the other hand, is not bound to a school yard. A person can learn anywhere. Be it through traveling, relationships, or a textbook. A higher education is the dedication of learning beyond government standards. Anyone who strives for higher education does it because of their own selfish desires. There is no third party force, it is simply one mind craving for more.
The ideology of Barnett’s The Idea of Higher Education, is accurate in the sense that it is a disturbing experience. A higher education isolates a person from the surrounding world. They know knowledge that the average body does not necessarily know. This then creates a system of power, because knowledge is power. Even in the very beginning, knowledge was revered. Those who knew what poisonous berries were, would survive. Or someone who used a cart with wheels rather than carrying items. Society advances based on knowledge and the capabilities to further educate themselves and the next generation. Barnett’s claim that there are no final answers, allows for the belief that there is always more that can be reached.
There are a few downsides to knowledge. The first being that, knowledge is not absolute. It’s fluid, it can always change. For hundreds of years, people assumed that the center of the universe was the Earth. Nowadays, that idea is laughable. The second thing is, it strips the individual of his or her innocence. Like a kid growing up too fast, knowledge forces a person to accept the hard facts that they encounter. Instead of living in a false happy world, people realize they are limited.
Barnett’s passage correlates to Nussbaum’s thoughts from “Education for Profit, Education for Democracy,” in the sense that higher education is the work of an individual. That one must actively reach for it on their own accord. Which is what most college students are doing. For the first time in their career, they are only ones that are responsible for collecting their knowledge. But that is why they are there. Because they want more knowledge and they are willing to work for it. Unlike high school, higher education is a challenge. Professors will not track a student down if they are missing work, or go out of their way unless the student makes the first move and shows the initiative. Students must work to achieve their knowledge.
Higher education is an education that is beyond high school. That should not be limited to schooling solely in college or university. It should encompass any experience where the individual is the one who reaches out for the information and actively possesses it.
Higher education is essential to society because without it, society would stagnate. It would cease to advance and other cultures and civilizations would advance past us. Right now, the USA is a leading world power. If there is a decline in the pursuit of higher education, the position of the country will decline or be surpassed. Knowledge gives the beholder superiority over others. As a result, knowledge is coveted throughout the world. And it always will be. The only thing that will change is the information that is most desired.