Borky's Beach is the working title of a near-future science fiction novel I'm writing in the spirit of Aldous Huxley & George Orwell. It describes a pleasant simalcrum of life with some sinister overtones which I think are generally imperceptible in today's society. But it also allows me to do some futuristic speculation.
On education, the premises & concepts are the following.
#1. Everything that allows people to live healthy lives to 80 years old is pretty much known and understood. To learn this (and how to fit into society) costs money. The purpose of public education is to help know and allow you to pick where you wish to apply yourself. To that end, the government allots $50,000 for the equivalent of primary, secondary and tertiary education, tertiary being two years of college equivalent, which amounts to roughly equivalent to an Associate's degree, but really about as useful (or useless) as what is considered today to be a solid college prep high school education, with one provision. There is no language requirement - as language is translated automatically by your cellphone.
#2. Everything inventive is proprietary and there is pretty much no way around it. 'Mental Services' is an economy unto itself, including education, entertainment, and all non-material consumption. You want to hear it? See it? You pay for it. There is an open market.
#3. The state provides educational facilities that are only marginally staffed by full time professionals who are primarily the equivalent of janitors and administrative staff. There is a very sophisticated universal credentialing system (run by the ISO - International Standards Organization) that has replaced every 'degree program' in existence. So the Professoriate are less like today's professors and more like consultants. Large consultingn partnerships teach - they are guild like, but there is also no such thing as tenure. Anybody with the ISO credential can teach anything they please in a state facility. You learn what you want to learn, and people teach what they want to teach. All that matters is the credential.
#4 If you want to homeschool or go off the ISO recommended list, you are entirely free to do so. That's 50K in your pocket. It's all you get. It is pretty much your single government benefit.
#5 Private universities exist, but they are generally extensions of professional guilds and corporate training programs. Which is to say there is a significant economy in educational certs which are finely tailored to the specific training requirements of proprietary organizations. Wealthy people mostly invent toys and entertainments for wealthy people, and wealthy people with no scruples mostly invent toys and entertainments for the rest of the people. IE there is porno of every sort imaginable. See 'Mental Services' above.
#6. Open source as we know it does not exist. The demand for it has gone pretty much to zero. Why? Because of the $50K benefit, and the fact that a high standard of living for no cost is well nigh universal. If you don't understand that, think of it this way. If you were a rich kid who got a free iPhone with every app you can think of, why would you try to learn Android and hack it yourself. Or. Think of it this way, if you lived in the United States in 2012 and you wanted to drive from LA to NYC, why would you try to build your own road? Exactly. You wouldn't be a civil engineer studying how to build roads - it's already done.
In Borky's future, everything is already done. Humanity is on the verge of intellectual and material post-scarcity. So what do we do? That's the premise of the book..