Of all my twenty-one years of life and years of schooling, last month is the first I have ever heard academia be termed as a “a walled garden.” A walled garden refers to “a limited set of technology or media information provided to users with the intention of creating a monopoly or secure information system.” With this definition in mind, let’s dissect America’s higher educational system.
To receive an education beyond high school level, America’s societal structure has made it to be only accessible to those with a higher economic background. Higher education is a gated community, only available to those who are able to afford it. America sells the dream of in order to be successful in life, one must obtain a college-level degree. However, this systemic issue places a burden to poor, working and middle-class citizens. Applying to these higher education institutions is a rather dystopian process. The individual partaking in application process is first subjected to standardized test that determines his or her societal placement. Along with that, the individual pays a multitude of fees to an institution to review the application. However, the payment of fees and standardize test do not guarantee a successful and affluent future. These factors, also, do not always guarantee admission into that educational institute. There is a higher chance of being left in debt after graduation than getting a job that potentially pays better. And if you are not content with your social and economic status post-graduation, you are advised to go to more school and accumulate more debt. This is an oppressive, systematic cycle. However, it is disguised by hope and a potential future.
As a society, the main priority should be the investment of education into the population. Higher education should be viewed as a right and not a privilege. By placing several institutional obstacles on society, America’s higher educational system is doing a disservice to not only the current population but also future generations.