DEAR PROFESSOR, YOU ARE SOON GOING TO LOSE YOUR JOB!

By Tanoy Bhattacharjee

November 6, 2023

Dear Pankaj,

It’s been good to see you the other day. Almost 20 years since we last met, probably during the school leaving ceremony, wasn’t it? Who could have thought then that you would one day turn into a Professor and I a ….. well a blogger.

But Professor, I have some bad news for you – you are soon going to lose your job!

Let me explain.

Imagine going to a movie theatre. You go in and on the screen a person appears and keeps on talking. Nothing else happens. Just that one person and his monologue. The movie will go on for an hour and you aren’t allowed to leave the hall until it ends. How would you feel about it? Am sure you would ask to have your money back!

This is exactly what college students are subjected to day in and day out and yet they can’t have their tuition fees back!

Do you know how boring you are?!

“But”, you say, “they do not come to the class expecting to be entertained, do they?”

Right. But it isn’t fair to bore them to death either after charging them every six months.

Not just because classes are boring, I will tell you two more factors that gives value to a college degree (education is not one of them). Take them away and you will see why your job is in danger.

But first a story.

The Story Of Bitcoin And How College Degrees Are Like Currency Notes:

In October 2008, a white paper appeared on the internet, titled – Bitcoin: A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System. The paper was authored by one Satoshi Nakamoto (a pseudonym. Whether Satoshi Nakamoto is a he or a she or they/them or even a group of people, no one knows). What the paper did was to revolutionize the very foundations of money.

You see, money is merely a means to exchange value. But before money or currency notes could be accepted in the main stream it had to solve one problem – Each currency note has to be unique. There cannot be any duplicate. This problem is solved by the Central Banks. Reserve Bank of India, in case of our country. A regulatory body that issues unique currency notes and coins.

Satoshi Nakamoto, in his paper, proposed a system to do away with the need for a Central Agency based on encryption technology. Thus, was born Bitcoins and the era of crypto currency. Once everyone starts using Crypto currencies there will be no need for a Central Bank.

So, how is this related to your job?

You see, just as a currency note is merely a piece of paper if not issued by a Central Bank, a college degree, too is valueless if not issued by a Government University or an University/Institution recognized by the Government.

Do I see any Bitcoin like thing happening to college education?

Online education is one. There is hardly anything that one can’t learn from YouTube and online classes.  

Another is recruitment by companies/governments.

Much of the value of college degrees comes from the fact that they are used a criterion for job positions by companies as well as the Government. Whereas, barring few professions like Medicine, Civil Engineering, etc there isn’t any need to. Actually, in a highly populated country like India, college degrees are used a means of elimination rather selection.

Already IT companies like Google and Apple are doing away with the need for a college degree for certain positions. What do you think will happen when this trend becomes main stream? Do you think students will come to you when they won’t need that degree for a job?

When that happens, I guess you need to start looking for a job yourself.

I want to end this letter with another story that might be a reflection of how things might be in the future, although the story is not about college education per se.

“Rejected by IIT, Accepted at MIT”

Said the newspaper headline. The year was 2008. The story was about Malvika Raj Joshi, a 17-year-old girl was not eligible for admissions in any of the IITs, yet gained admissions for an undergraduate course in computer science at the MIT. It so happened that Malvika neither had a STD X nor STD XII degree. She was home schooled.

Her story goes like this: Malvika’s mother worked for an NGO that dealt with cancer patients. When Malvika was in STD VIII or IX, she pulled her out of school deciding that it was more important for her to be happy than to be in a rat race. She began home schooling Malvika, giving her the freedom to pursue her own interests.

 Computer programming interested her and soon she began participating in various competitions. Ultimately winning medals in International Olympiad of Informatics, three years in succession. MIT, which has provisions for winners of International Olympiads, accepted her in its BSc Computer Science course.

What am I trying to get at through the story?

Malvika could achieve what she achieved because she was given the freedom to pursue her interests. A fixed curriculum, decided upon by a committee of oldies not in touch with reality, was not forced down her throat. She did not have to waste time cramming facts and sitting for exams in subjects she did not care about.

And I believe that is how education will be (should be) in the near future. Children will be allowed to grow their potential and not be treated as raw material that is being put through one end of the assembly line (school), coming out a finished product at the other end (college).

Children will finally be set free to pursue creativity and wisdom and not facts and information.

My dear Pankaj I hope my letter offends you.

If you are not offended enough, we will happily continue with a 200-year-old system unchanged and the world would have surged 2000 years ahead.

Your concerned friend

Tanay

NB: In my next letter I will tell you how our education system will be disrupted. And no, its not the New Education Policy.

The writer is a Blogger and Creative Consultant at openclasses.app

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