If I was a university professor in an age when universities are nothing more than corporate profit centres and too many people emerging from the system are barely literate and have qualifications that are absolutely useless in the job market I wouldn’t brag about it.

Aristotle nailed the whole education thing over 2000 years ago in his work known as Nicomachean Ethics, which can be summed up as “What we have to do, we learn by doing.

When I worked as a computer programmer in the 1970s there were no ‘computer science degrees, alongside my economics background we had several people who had gone through various engineering and technical apprenticeships, people who had entered accountacy or law via an articled clerk position, and some diverse degrees, including someone with construction technology and another with forestry. Yet we all knew exactly how computers and all their peripherals worked.

Now I meet people with ‘computer science degrees who think the memory is full of 1s and 0s rather than negative and positive charges. We had learned by doing. And sometimes when people argue about the supernatural (ghosts etc.) I’ll say, they’re really just vestigia, electromagnetic echoes.
Which usually elicits a response of, “But that’s all munbo jumbo.”
“Is it,” I ask, “How do you think I can recover from hard disks data that has been overwritten several times?”

At moments like this I like to cite a line from Terry Pratchett’s novel Dodger in which the authors writes of his main character, “While some people were in school being educated Dodger had been in the streets learning stuff. There’s a big difference.”

I think the most significant way the digital revolution will disrupt universities is by exposing how worthless most of what is taught in them really is.

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Opted for comfortable retirement before I was fifty due to health problems and burn out. Now spend my time writing and goofing around. Home: northern England..

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