A group or community of masters and scholars. This was how universities were founded.
People who wanted to learn needed a safe and encouraging place to learn. To try things out. To experiment. To fail. With like-minded people who also wanted to learn and, thus, supported each other.
But today, colleges and universities (and schools in general) have become mere stepping stones to a good career. Or at least, the chance at a good career.
Schools have become commercialized. Being able to earn money once students graduate takes a higher priority over learning.
What used to be an encouraging and cooperative institution has become competitive and even downright discouraging.
It's no wonder students no longer have fun learning. They no longer enjoy trying. They no longer dare to create and risk failure.
And so, the race to the bottom extends to the future generations.
The challenge for us is to change the educational system. But, it requires changing the culture, which itself requires a collective effort. Then again, the collective can be influenced by our individual actions.
What can we do as individuals?
We can start by infecting others with our curiosity. With the joy of learning. We can start by teaching the people around us what it really means to go to school. To study. To learn. To dare. To experiment. To fail.
We can start at our own families. Then, infect others in our workplace. And let them infect their own families and circles of influences.
Today, our families and workplace. Tomorrow, the world.
Hat tip: Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception