our A B C and 1 2 3 of Political Economy- Breaking Political Barriers of Universal Education


By Sarjo Bayang the Author: Part 14: Breaking Political Barriers of Universal Education

Thanks to advances in technology enhanced information flow, institutionalised monopoly of education services appears under critical risk of collapse. Political barriers to universal education are no longer serious constraint. Institutions have politics of information to trade on their established names. The challenge for survival is phenomenal.

Information that was confined to the school classroom from elementary to higher education is now within easy reach using hand held devices including mobile phones and desktop computers at home. 

Universities and other higher education institutions are battling with invasion of the hoarded commercial information. Those that earned the lofty profile will continue trading on past glory for some time. Barriers to information have broken frontiers for everyone’s entry and exit at little or no cost. 

Much of what remains is a matter of reputable educational institutions trading on past glory. It was only few years ago when scientific instruments were outside the reach of ordinary users. Motivated by profit and numbers enterprising innovators invaded with user friendly computerised devices broadly connected through World Wide Web, better known as www.

Research and technology was reserved for academic curiosity with results compiled into book knowledge. Now even the world of medicine succumbed to commercially enterprising capitalists for increased money gains. Here is how everything that was kept away from rest of society now remains public possession.

Technology defeats monopoly of knowledge

Operating a computer back in the days required memory of commands using symbols and numbers. The era of Microsoft Disc Operating System (M S Dos) was nightmare for those of us without scientific background.

Using computers was associated with real smartness and the few who mastered all the MS Dos commands had chips on their shoulders. All that was to change within relatively short span of time.

My own uncle happened to be one of the few to venture into computer technician career which continues paying dividend. First time he showed me round his computer room, we had to wear plastic protection to prevent any particle of dust getting into the big machines storing vital information for his company. Yes, they were big enough to occupy larger part of a king size bedroom.

Technology was then confined to limited users due to challenges imposed by the few scientific custodians.

Long before computers became known by their modern name, information sharing was largely enhanced by technology in vast ways. Books and newspapers have been produced by machines for the longest time. Photographs and other forms of imagery including motion pictures all came to us by some form of technology in operation.

Even then, the users of technology equipment remained in their thin minority. Special training was required at selected institutions. For operation of some scientific instruments there is still need for special training.

Breaking barriers to information access

The big breakthrough emerged when scientific and technology enhanced instruments became user friendly even for those of us not smart enough with figures or without strong mastery of letters. Computers began helping with word processing and text could be corrected on screen thereby saving the tedious erasing of type written material on paper.

With further advances in technology enhanced instruments of communication, barriers to monopoly began breaking at phenomenal pace of gains for ordinary people in society.

Due to high commercial prospects making technology enhanced instruments of information becoming broader social outreach, institutions, scientists, and specialist users could no longer retain monopoly.

Reality of the situation is that those who control the technology prefer to get rich by selling more of their products to a wider public than just special interest establishments. That way instruments of mass communication gained total liberation from monopolistic institutions.

The big platform of information for universal education

Commercial interest prompted large scale distribution of technology enhanced communication instruments with user friendly operating gears.

Teaching facilities at universities and other higher educational institutions rely on technology enhanced equipment in delivering their information stock. The same or even more information is sitting within reach of a mobile devices that every study carries in their handbags.

What the institutions are not telling us is the fact that all the big buildings and investment in machines are costed as part of fees paid by each student.

Everything is organised to attract attention and give confidence through highly enticing commercial adverts. Curious observers debate over any difference that educational service providers render end users.

The big difference lies in loftiness of name tags, especially for long established institutions. If it were not for their established names, any educational service provider anywhere on this planet could give equal amount of information to their broader end user students without needing to move one inch from home. Commercial monopoly by institutions is diminishing at very fast speed and widest range.

Realising that they no longer command monopoly of universal information flow, educational service providers make their gains through politics. They employ politics of information to sell and protect their image.

As technology enhanced information outreach imposes intense challenging environment there is no end to the game of politics in education. Thanks to ease of outreach, barriers to information are no longer secured. The universe settles as one big platform of information for knowledge building and personal development.

Institutions are still relevant as custodians of rules and regulations governing universal education. Keeping information within four corners of the classroom block is what institutions are battling to sustain for their commercial monopoly. Superhighway of information is getting broader day by day.

Briefcase schooling education services on the rise

Anytime you open emails, another nicely worded message flags up with promise to deliver educational products at the comfort of your home. Some established names are also engaged in this international trade for educational products.

Through accreditation and collaboration, some established names trading on educational products and services have paved new inroads of outreach.

Representatives shuttle at regular intervals to showcase their educational establishment in far away countries. Students with limited means of funding register on courses offered by briefcase professors and faculty members from established names in the educational trade.

Cutting down on cost while still making profits, other competitors have their market share of this international trade of education as service or product of enterprise.

Putting it in any form of package or design, institutions no longer enjoy monopoly of supply for educational products and services as in the good old days.

Everyone accesses information required for advancing education. Institutions still prove their relevance by keeping custody of measuring instruments, standards, and universal recognition. For now, all frontiers that for longest imposed barriers to education seem to be invaded by keen enterprising commercial traders. The future will take care of itself.

Reactions to this article can reach the author by email sbayang@hotmail.com


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