On The Inefficiencies Of Higher Education

Siva Vaidhyanathan, professor of media studies and law at the University of Virginia, has an abnormally interesting (and insightful) article in Slate. He reflects on his father coming to the US, the forced resignation and rehiring of University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan and the nature of higher education. Here’s a sample.

In the real world, we roll along, healthy and strong, in the richest nation in the world because some very wise people decided decades ago to invest in institutions that serve no obvious short-term purpose. The results of the work we do can take decades to matter—if at all. Most of what we do fails. Some succeeds. The system is terribly inefficient. And it’s supposed to be that way [emphasis added].

Vaidhyanathan’s piece is worthy of your time.
Learning is inefficient. Innovation is inefficient. Research is inefficient. Are there ways education can be made more efficient? Yes, I think education can be made more efficient but not learning, innovation, or research. Whatever we may try to do to improve the efficiency of education, it will ultimately fail if it involves improving the efficiency of learning, innovation or research.