In the beginning, the nature of higher education in U.S.A. was like the higher education in Europe. Both the educational systems were dominated by specialisation and research methods. But the American philosophy of life changed with the needs of the time and so the aims of higher education also changed.
Consequently, a vast difference in the nature of European and American education now exists.
Higher education being specialised and research oriented was not accessible to all. So it proved purposeless for persons with vocational interest. Hence stress began to be laid on making higher education utilitarian and accessible to all. In 1949, in New York and New Jersey States, laws were passed against prohibiting any person on the basis of caste, religion, sex, nationality and class from receiving higher education.
According to these laws, all such entries which required information regarding the above were removed from admission forms. Although this statutory provision was made only in higher education, soon it began to be followed at other levels of education also.
University education connected with specialisation and research was useful for brilliant students only. Average student was neglected at university level and he was neglected by the teachers too. But by making higher education easily accessible and utilitarian, average students were able to get higher education and the teachers had to change the methods of teaching and their attitude towards students.
As a result of equal educational opportunities in 1992, the number of Universities rose to about 250 and that of colleges of higher education to about 2500. The number of students in Liberal Arts Colleges increased to 100, 00,000.
The number of students in 1992, receiving education in professional schools and separately organised schools, which are about 3000 in number, is about 40, 00,000. Increase in population and the need of education has affected all levels of educational institutions.
Out of the total number of higher education institutions, about 40 per cent are government and the remaining are individual, collective, community, denominational connected with Municipal boards and private institutes. In spite of the sufficient number of higher education institutions, there is a large crowd for admission and problem of lack of seats usually arises.
The changed system of higher education in America, has affected the aims of the life of the graduates. A graduate who previously wanted to be a research scholar and go in for specialisation, now tries to be an able teacher through research work alone.
Although, this has lowered the standard of education to some extent, yet it has made education practical and useful. As regards the problem of admission to higher classes, terminal education, provision of supplementary courses and additional special provisions may be made.
By making the admission-test easier and simpler, the problem related to admission may also be solved. Now it may be noted that a reorganisation of the curriculum is necessary for saving the standard of education from deterioration and it is the duty of the teachers to provide education according to the needs and interest of the students and make the teaching more interesting. Multi-purpose subjects should be introduced in the colleges.
Provision of useful and practical education should be made according to the individual capacity of the students and their educational courses should be divided into units for successful evaluation of educational standards.