Is higher education overrated?

Due to the excessive globalization, technology development and increased world economy integration the times when education was a privilege of rich and powerful people are left behind. In 1960s tertiary education was ‘a preserve of the elite’ in many countries worldwide and constituted only 10 percent of the relevant age group which were enrolled in the universities in the ‘developed’ countries and just a few percent in ‘developing’ ones (Altbach, 2015, p. 6). Currently, the enrollment rates for higher education are almost 80 percent and this number is only growing as education is becoming more and more accessible to the general public. However, with admitting the irrefutable and invaluable benefits and contribution of higher education into the development and prosperity of the humankind, in this blog I will try to state that in some cases higher education is overrated.

Firstly, the massification of higher education has led to the emergence of global knowledge economy and has turned it into a major enterprise. The growth of private colleges and universities, the lack of control and management, the difficulties with assessment of quality and the overall deterioration of quality of higher education are just few outcomes of massification mentioned by Altbach (2015). So some universities fail to provide a good, not saying high, quality education as they are viewed as an industry for making money.  Additionally, the ideology that the university degree is a ‘must have’ of every individual of the 21st century might be artificially compelled by states as it is evident that education is one of the biggest catalysts of economic development. For example, the income gained by attracting international students is 100 billion dollars for various stakeholders worldwide (Altbach, 2015).

Secondly, some jobs, even well-paid ones, do not require university degrees but particular skills that can be acquired by attending short-term courses. People are instilled that getting college degree opens the doors to professional and economic success in life. Indeed, a good quality education may help to find the place in the sun and to succeed in career, but in fact the university diploma does not always guarantee a workplace in the world with appallingly high rate of unemployment. Also, many graduates find jobs outside of their specialties, so they lose time and money on obtaining specialty that is not and might be never used.

In conclusion, I would like to say that not everyone must get higher education as people should find life occupations according to their talents and skills and if only the university study can help to acquire and hone these skills so it is worth to go to university.

Do you think that sometimes higher education is overrated?


Altbach, P. (2015). Perspectives on internationalizing higher education. International Higher Education, (27).

14 thoughts on “Is higher education overrated?

  1. In US, we have very old joke. If you are young and do not support the Democrats, you have no heart. If you are not young and still support the Democrats, you have no brains.

    Also please look up the difference between reasonable and unreasonable people as defined by George Bernard Shaw.

    What is difference between genius and stupidity? Google and find the answer.

    On eggplant, how did the courtier answer the Sultan? Google and find the answer.

    I will give gift certificate of $10 to the first person that posts answers to any one of these questions.


    1. The reasonable man adopts himself to the conditions that surround him.
      The unreasonable man adopts surrounding conditions to himself.
      All progress depends on unreasonable man.
      George Bernard Shaw


    2. Instructions for a successful career
      A thousand years ago, the sultan of Persia said:
      – How delicious.
      He had never tasted eggplants before, and was eating them finely sliced, dressed with ginger and herbs from the Nile.
      So the court poet began extolling the virtues of the eggplant, which delights the mouth and works miracles in the bedroom, as in the feats of love it is even more powerful than powdered tiger’s tooth or ground rinocerous horn.
      A few bites later, the sultan said:
      -This is awful.
      And so the poet cursed the treacherous eggplant, which chastises the digestion, fills the head with dark thoughts and drives virtuous men to the edge of delirium and madness.
      -You just praised the eggplant to the heavens, and now you are cursing it to hell– commented a court wit.
      And the poet, an early prophet for mass media communications, immediately set things straight:
      -I am courtier to the sultan. I am not courtier to the eggplant.



  2. Another old joke. In US. , the great capitalist country (at least according to our dear great President DT) it is said that man exploits man or if you prefer, people exploit people. This is definitely true. I agree. What is the situation in other countries? It is the opposite.


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