The last few months have felt like a gold rush for Web3. It seems as if everyone is flocking to build a decentralised product or service.
Status symbols are changing — an NFT is a better signal than a Rolex. Notions of money are changing — cryptocurrencies are an arguably better savings account in many jurisdictions. But there is one important thing that is being overlooked: the impact of Web3 on the EdTech space.
In his book, The Case Against Education, Bryan Caplan makes the argument that the primary function of education is not to enhance students' skills but to certify their intelligence, work ethic, and conformity — to signal the qualities of an exemplary employee.
Imagine this dilemma: you are at a crossroads in life and in order to “level up”, you need to choose between an Oxbridge degree or an online course certificate. Both contain the same content, but the online course would be cheaper and take you far less time to complete.
Most people would pick an Oxbridge education over the online course. But what is the benefit of going to Oxbridge? Learning or convincing people that you're smart?
On average, UK graduates earn £10,000 more per year than those who don't go to university. Universities continue to deliver extraordinary returns for the people who decide to go. All of a sudden, picking up that online course doesn't seem like a good idea.
I find this to be rather unfortunate. If someone takes a course outside of a school that isn't affiliated or accredited by an institution, it might not "count" for anything, despite that person's eventual output.
What if we could change the mindset of an institution determining whether our education counts for something, and made the process a little more democratised? Could we take steps towards making education more fair and open?
Let me know your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading. Until next month.