There is much discussion today about the purpose and value of a college education. While college becomes the gateway to many career opportunities, it should broaden the individual’s potential to grow intellectually and to provide a knowledge and skill base that will prepare the student for the fast paced and rapidly changing work world.
I call your attention to the insights of Michael Roth, President of Wesleyan University, who reflects on the educational philosophy of John Dewey. As Roth points out, Dewey recognized the need for education to prepare for careers, but it should have as its primary purpose “to enhance our capacities…to teach us habits of learning.” Even a century ago, Dewey touched upon the reality of rapid change, change in the work world of today that he could not have envisioned in his time. Dewey viewed learning as “the deepest form of freedom.”
And I would add that the gift of learning to learn should be the essence of a higher education, a gift that keeps on giving, as we go through our ever-changing world.