Efficiency and affordability within the higher education sector

Posted: August 12th, 2013





Efficiency and affordability within the higher education sector

The article Are Colleges worth the Price of Admission? written by Hacker and Dreifus addresses the affordability and quality of education colleges and if the schools’ heightened admission fees translated into efficient teaching skills. The two investigators embarked on studying institutions and interrogating the stakeholders within the higher education departments. Dreifus and Hacker concluded that colleges and universities took up on many different responsibilities, most of which they were unable to complete. The investigations also provided several different recommendations to restore sanity within the education sector.

They proposed that one of the national education’s goals should be universal enrollment. Dreifus and Hacker believe that learners should be confronted to apply their minds that would transform them to considerate and appealing people. Indeed, they argued that students were ideally meant to “become more thoughtful and interesting people…” (Dreifus & Hacker 180). The two scholars also proposed that introduction of contemporary teaching aids such as ICT would serve to improve the learning experience. To that extent, teachers would embrace their more interactive and visual teaching aids. The two even went as far as listing colleges that were perceived to be efficient in terms of affordability and methods of operation as well as the reasons behind their success.

The common theme of education appears across the three essays. In the article, Are Colleges worth the Price of Admission? education, is the main topic of discussion with the two authors addressing the need for a re-evaluation of the efficiency of the higher education? The article displayed the flaws the existed in the contemporary higher education model that was plagued with privatization, lowering of academic standards and introduction of non-educational interests. The issue of affordability was also extensively discussed by Dreifus and Hacker. Various contradictions appear in the three different works. In the first essay by Hacker and Dreifus, their focus was placed mostly on the affordability and efficiency of the education system.

Their argument revolved around trying to understand why colleges insisted on hiking their fees yet their quality of education remained the same or even stagnated further. In doing so, their main aim was to clarify that any increased input of finances into the educational system did not necessarily translate into improved services by the teachers and the administration.

Sanford Ungar discusses various fallacies concerning liberal arts in the article The New Liberal Arts. In the article, Ungar clarified why they could be considered misperceptions. Ungar dismissed the assertion that studying liberal arts was no longer affordable and acceptable across many families especially when he acknowledged that “liberal-arts education has been especially hard hit…” (Ungar 191). Instead, he argued that studying liberal arts was a necessary investment due to the broad understanding that the course provided, as compared to the thin and limited approach.

Liberal arts gave its pupils the knowledge of how to exist with values and morality as well as the way to solve difficulties. Ungar’s argument concerning studying the liberal arts has persisted over the years, mainly due to the inability to dispel most of the misperceptions. In the next essay, The New Liberal Arts, Ungar also selected the education sector as a starting point but his analysis focused solely on the applicability and acceptability of the liberal arts as an independent course among social and academic circles. In an argument similar to Dreifus and Hacker’s, Ungar questioned the applicability of liberal arts to the relevant industries. The essay by Ungar also contradicted in that it concentrated solely on the liberal arts and the people’s attitudes toward considering it as a serious course.

Liz Addison was a graduate from a lower cadre Southern Maine College expressed her sentiments in the article Two Years Are Better Than Four, where she argued that the idea that the whole idea of attending a four-year program in the college was useless if they students did not cover the fundamentals contained in two-year community colleges. She reinforced her point by asserting that community colleges provided students with a place to begin their higher education and give them to enough opportunity to grow up before they enrolled for university. She did this by likening mature college students to a “retired ballerina taking a seat in the stalls…” (Addison 114). Drawing most of the examples from her own experiences at South Maine Community College, Addison stressed on the growth process that student were expected to undergo.

These colleges were efficient in making the student crossover due to three main features: affordability, availability of options and accessibility. Lastly, Liz Addison’s argument was also similar to the first two in that she also discussed about higher education. Addison exemplified the role of colleges in shaping the personality and behavior of young adults before they enrolled for universities. Liz also criticized the discrimination of colleges by the state and the private sector because they were inferior and inefficient. Therefore, all the three authors concentrated on the state of higher education as their main topic of study. Lastly, Liz Addison also had other interests as she focused on trying to paint colleges as influential, important and undervalued institutions within the society.




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