by Ishan Puri
Student at Stanford University, Author, Founder of Synocate
Technology is the key to our future. It will shape aspects of our life in ways that we cannot imagine. But beyond technology itself, we must carefully consider its applications and use. Today I am making the case for the perpetual existence of the physical university, especially in the United States. I am arguing that the forefront of education, research and its nexus should hail on the clouds of the physical institution, and that online education and tools should act as supplements or extenders of knowledge to those with little access. But U.S. research universities are some of the best in the world. The problem in education is deeper: we need a fundamental shift in our priorities towards education. That shift begins with us — students and the next generation.
I am asking all students in college to write and spread the word about their college experiences. Share with your brothers and sisters what you have learned both inside and outside the classroom. I am asking parents to have open dialogues with your sons and daughters about school and why it is important. That is where we can start.
We will focus on three elements to show the national crisis of education in America : macro-trends in U.S. education, the nature of the university and the Stanford case study.
Macro-trends in U.S. education support the lack of seriousness in higher education. Money is being poured into the development of new facilities, but what we need is a fundamental shift in our priorities. 35 percent of all undergraduates are enrolled part-time, and our school day is much shorter than the 10-12 hour school days in much of Asia and Europe Committing to a university is the simplest step to fixing our complacency, but it requires much more than building: it requires a national shift in our attitude. That shift begins with committing to living and studying in a singular place where our attention is consolidated. A short-term monetary commitment does not come close to outweighing the future benefits of higher education. President Obama, President Bush, President Clinton and countless luminaries have pushed this effort, but I believe we must take a bottom-up approach to this problem and address it from the student perspective. (Full Story)