One of the most critical challenges to serious education is the soundbite

Santiago Zabala in Al Jazeera:

ScreenHunter_302 Sep. 08 18.56We all remember when Democratic strategist James Carville coined the famous phrase “it's the economy, stupid”, for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. It quickly became a slogan often repeated in US political culture. Together with the economy, he also emphasised the significance of “change” and “healthcare”. While Obama seems to have taken these latter two items to heart, education (in particular in the humanities) still seems to be a marginal issue among his priorities. This also occurs with other politicians. But why is it so common today?

For those of us who had the good fortune to be educated by teachers who guided our intellectual interest and social wellbeing regardless of where we were enrolled, we know it's always the faculty that makes the difference, not the institution. If, as Noam Chomsky once pointed out, “our kids are being prepared for passive obedience, not creative, independent lives”, it's because we live in a corporate world where most institutions are ranked according to criteria that too often ignore the essence of the discipline in favour of the job market.

It is also interesting to notice how the failure of MOOCs (massive open online courses, which represent corporate universities' latest development), lies in the impersonal nature of the courses – because students are unable to meaningfully interact with their professors, one of the fundamental aspects of any serious education. This is why, asSarah Kendzior brilliantly explained, colleges must be “reformed, not replaced”. How can we reform our higher education system? And why is it necessary?

More here.