The Peoples' Institute for Re-thinking Education and Development

Diploma Disease and Collapse

"One of the main causes behind the collapse and demise of modern civilization in the meta-crisis may ultimately be the modernist practice of degrees and diplomas.

They filter, standardise and centralize certain (extremely limited) ways of perceiving, sense-making, understanding and organising ourselves and the rest of the world. This sets the framework for mono-culture of the mind and heartless intellectuals.

They privilege predictable anthropocentric tools, languages, and processes (e.g. text, examinations and organised classrooms) over spontaneous experiences, intuition, creativity, place-emergent wisdom and more than human intelligences. This builds and reinforces elite echo chambers, self-referencing information bubbles, arrogant intellectual blind spots, suffocating corporate copyright regimes.

They set up and constantly reinforce a hierarchy/caste system (PhD-ism) of certain institutions, power structures and relationships for decision-making while systematically othering, silencing or wiping out diverse voices, traditions and ways of being. A global cult of experts is curated and promoted. This perpetuates the continued legitimisation of new forms of the white man’s burden, exclusion, dehumanisation and rationalisation of violence and militarism.

Degrees and diplomas are part of a knowledge paradigm of commodification, extraction, accumulation and ownership. They are based on a worldview of certainty, measurement and control. They privilege a hyper-individualist and competitive view of knowledge construction. They ignore other traditions which see unlearning, letting go, play, silence, emptying out as essential to deepening understanding and collective consciousness. The complex challenges facing humanity will require us to engage with and evolve different paradigms of knowing than what conventional experts have been trained in.

We invite you to join the Healing Ourselves from the Diploma Disease Campaign:
1. Say ‘No!’ to certificates and degrees! Refuse to consider them as a requirement in your admission, hiring or promotion processes and social circles. Instead value a wider range of criteria that identifies people with multiple talents, real world life experiences, diverse perspectives and high levels of personal commitment and self-initiative.
2. In your hiring process, encourage applicants to submit portfolios which highlight their diverse skills and experiences as well as indicate their own future personal learning goals.
3. Share with us your own thoughts about the limitations of degrees and the alternatives you are creating in your own group, learning center, company or organization.

The time has come to ask ourselves whose agenda do the degrees and diplomas regime really serve."
- Manish Jain, Shikshantar Andolan

#ecoversities #shikshantar #swarajuniversity #highereducation