The 2014 documentary Ivory Tower is probably one of the best critiques of what education in a Western University has become. The following are some “take-home” points I made after a quick viewing. Please bear in mind that my “take-home” points and conclusions may be different from those the producers had intended.
- American University education once became the best in the world when the United States Government passed an Act to grant land and resources to what would later emerge as the major American Universities. Today we are seeing the opposite. Government money is going towards private defence industries and wars, while post-secondary education is being aggressively privatized.
- In its heydays, an American University student could pay for his or her tuition through summer jobs!
- Today, American Universities are SERIOUS BUSINESS. They are engaged in a race to offer facilities, buildings and amenities, which have more to do with recreation than education. The boozy party subculture is all part of the package.
- Taking out a student loan to pay for a University Education is more risky than taking out a mortgage to get a home. The mortgage industry is better regulated, and a mortgage at least gets you an immediate asset (the home) whereas a University Education only gets you a promise of a better job.
- PayPal co-founder, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist Peter Thiel actually created a fellowship fund for students to drop out of University and pursue their ideas. According to Peter Thiel, pursuing a University Education is an excuse for doing nothing.
- The use of online learning and interactive technology has had mixed results in cutting the cost of education. In one University which made several online courses free for everyone, people from poorer countries were quick to take advantage of the higher standard of education being offered for free. But an analysis of online-only courses taken by American students for content which required heavy interaction, such as Math and Algebra, revealed that the student success rate was dismal. In other words, online learning and interactive technology are not a good idea for courses that require heavy human interaction.
- Those seeking alternatives to an expensive American University Education can now seek guidance from an entire movement dedicated to opposing University Education.
While the documentary does not delve deeper into the dark side of a Western University Education, such as Criminal Cabals, Persecution, Secret Societies, Brainwashing and Surveillance, it has done a good job of highlighting the impracticality of such an Education. And it does give a good overview of alternatives, for those seeking a way out.