Thursday, October 31, 2013

Reinventing Higher Education

I’ve seen much the same headline several times before in recent years. Today, in the New York Times it was Interest Fading in Humanities, Colleges Worry. The targets of erosion are no longer Latin and Greek—which once gave people access to the literature of our parent civilizations, the Greek and Greek-influenced Roman. The paper cites as an example the closing, at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, programs in German, philosophy, and world languages and culture. Rather than saying here that Inhumanities are on the rise in education, it may be kinder to say that college education is pupating into trade education, and when that pupa finally opens and releases its inhabitant, it has the appearance of what we see all around us. Meanwhile, you might say, Humanities are quite alive and well—but almost invisible. The children of a tiny elite still attend such schools. A while back I had a brief post on one of these, St. John’s College (link). My guess is that the numbers engaged in such education are, in proportion to the total population, much as the educated were in proportion to theirs in, say, the thirteenth century.

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