The Purpose of Education: The Perspective of Students and Graduates



Rahman, Mohammed

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This thesis explored what goals and motivations propelled students to pursue a college education. The data was collected using semi-structured one-on-one interviews along with focus groups. The finding was then compared with the historical purposes of education. To that end, the history of the education system of the United States was examined to see how the purposes changed over time as well as to contextualize the views found in the interviews and focus groups. Cora Du Bios’s work on values helped to frame the historical context as well as point to cultural motivations for college. Victor Turner’s work on liminality helped to examine the state of anxiety that students go through as they attend college, transitioning into adulthood. This was juxtaposed with the neoliberal turn of the American economy which created a liminal state that the current college students found themselves having to navigate. Placing students in a very precarious position when they are trying to determine the best course of action for their future.



Purpose of education, College experience, Values, liminality and education, Education and economy, Liminality and college