College Or No College?
However, this is indeed the point of departure. The college credentials, as good as they may be, are meaningless without the underlying promise of progress and hope. Once the college just clings onto it without its content, its future may have really gone bust. And, precisely at this point, there is no consensus whether the college is dying. In the West, allowing some generalisation, with all its famed universities, great tradition, brilliant professors, the hope of change has withered. So have all the other functions of the college, save the legitimisation of social privilege. In developing countries, with some generalisation, the hope of a changing social order, that the children will have a better life than their parents, is alive and well - and indeed, the promise of college is much more than rubber stamping privilege.
The debate about end of college, carried out usually in American terms (perhaps not unfairly, because college was so successful there), is therefore misleading. The global trends are not just lagged version of American trends. The dreams of social change is alive in many societies, in different forms, and that provides the life blood of college. The inverted form of this also true and treating college as a fountain of progress rather than a source of educated workers predestined to carry out social functions meant for them will keep the belief in social change alive. College still works, but only in some places where its promise is sorely needed.