By Wandia Njoya
The university was already destroyed before covid-19. It was battered by administrative bloat, by demands for “relevance” which pushed teachers away from guiding people to master their disciplines to answer life’s questions. Now with covid-19, neoliberalism is dealing its final blow and telling universities to take everything online.
It is a serious problem because research shows that online learning doesn’t provide the stamina and discipline needed to learn. Success rates are lower and are the best for those who already have a good grounding in face to face learning. Meaning online learning works for the already privileged. So please don’t give me that cheap and annoying rant about tech not being available to kids mashinani. Even if it was, poor kids will remain disadvantaged.
To reverse this trend, we would have to call for the dissolution of Commission for University Education, the Council of Legal Education and all the other tertiary regulatory bodies. All we need is a desk at Jogoo House to coordinate tertiary learning. We don’t need academics as bureaucrats to regulate. Let them return to the universities to practice in the classroom what they now preach in the offices.
All that money and all those professors should return to the classroom and start building a CULTURE (not another degree programme) of critical thinking and inquiry. Open the doors of universities to fresh air from the public, employ more and many young lecturers, reduce the bureaucratic positions to a minimum and let the faculty do the bulk of the admin and leadership work.
And tell parasite sector to shut the heaven up. They are not being forced to employ university graduates, so they don’t have to. Let them train their own workers since they think nobody can do it.
Since that won’t happen, this is what we should expect.
Learning will move out of the universities. Universities will be reduced to libraries and certification centers, but people who really want to learn and be good in their disciplines will have be attached to individuals who have proven to be good in their disciplines. Basically we go back to the apprentice model where you learn from a master rather than an institution. Like Jesus and his disciples.
It has already started, by the way.
The initial years will be very bad because a lot of people will be like Mutahi Ngunyi, masquerading as intellectuals. Others will exploit young people. But after a decade, it will start leveling out and people will get the hang of who works and who is a scam.
Going forward, I advise parents to avoid the M&M degrees (money and management). Help your kids to work with their brains and muscles, not to police people doing the work (management) or to make money from other people’s money (finance). M&M degrees make graduates forever nervous because the graduates depend on the work of others. That’s why they create increasingly cruel bureaucratic tools to ensure they are in control. Covid-19 has called out that story. It has shown us that the people whose work matters are the ones who take care of our bodies, minds and environment.
I also expect the bureaucrats and parasite sector to fight back, viciously. The media will call us quacks and the business parasites and government bureaucrats will look for a new way to exploit us, because that’s really the bottom line of this all. The people who don’t want to do the work want to earn from it.
Let the games begin.