Even before the beginning of 1975 campaign The Watchtower Society did not allow young people to live till adulthood, so that higher education seemed unnecessary. The organization taught that Armageddon will interrupt the adolescent period of young people:
It is a calamitous fact that most of the boys and girls today will not have the opportunity to waste their youth and prime of life and get to the calamitous days of old age, where life has been a vain thing for them. According to God’s timing the calamity of the universal war of Armageddon will strike them down while yet in their youth and prime of life because they are not remembering their grand Creator, serving him with worthwhile works. (The Watchtower November 15, 1957, p. 701).
Later, when the time was ‘counted’ to expected Armageddon, higher learning and higher education was sharply criticized, and intensive preaching, e.g. “pioneer service” was presented as an alternative to such activities. The following are several typical statements of The Watchtower Society:
As a result, they may set their hearts on the education that is offered by the world’s institutions of “higher learning.” (...) Rather than being content with “sustenance and covering,” those who devote themselves to getting a “higher education” usually want to be able to enjoy “the rest of the things” that money can buy. (Mark 4:19) If they are going to succeed in the education they have set out to get, they have to work hard at it. Study of the Bible, association with the Christian congregation and participation in the Christian ministry are curtailed. Worldly associations predominate; worldly philosophy fills their minds. What happens? (...) Overtime secular work frequently crowds out attendance at the congregation meetings, because fear of displeasing their employer is stronger than their fear of displeasing God. They may have a token share in the field ministry because they know it is a Christian requirement, but their principal efforts are channeled into other interests. What will be their position when Armageddon strikes? Will Jehovah, who examines the heart, really find that they are persons who have loved him with all their heart and mind and soul and strength? (Luke 10:25-28) Will he preserve them into his new system of things? This is a matter for serious consideration. Not just next month or next year, but today, while we are yet alive and able to do things, is the time to prove that we want to be wholehearted praisers of Jehovah “from now on and to time indefinite.” - Ps. 115:17, 18. (The Watchtower February 1, 1967, pp. 75-76);
Many schools now have student counselors who encourage one to pursue higher education after high school, to pursue a career with a future in this system of things. Do not be influenced by them. Do not let them “brainwash” you with the Devil’s propaganda to get ahead, to make something of yourself in this world. This world has very little time left! Any “future” this world offers is no future! Wisely, then, let God’s Word influence you in selecting a course that will result in your protection and blessing. Make pioneer service, the full-time ministry, with the possibility of Bethel or missionary service your goal. This is a life that offers an everlasting future! (The Watchtower March 15, 1969, p. 171);
True, the Watch Tower Society does not encourage spending time at worldly colleges or universities, the so-called “schools of higher learning.” But that does not mean that we are to be narrow in our knowledge. (The Watchtower February 15, 1970, p. 115);
All worldly careers are soon to come to an end. So, why should today’s youth get interested in ‘higher education’ for a future that will never eventuate? The colleges are falling into chaos, anyway. The essentials of education for a useful life can be obtained by studying well at high school, and beyond that there is also the ‘highest education’ that Jehovah provides through his organization, preparing for a satisfying career of full-time service that goes on forever. (Ps. 71:5, 17; 61:8) Let young people, and older people, too, avoid reading matter, TV and movies that highlight worldliness. (The Watchtower September 15, 1971, p. 563).
Higher education and colleges were also criticized by The Watchtower Society in the following publications:
The Watchtower July 15, 1969, p. 438;
The Watchtower July 15, 1970, p. 441;
The Watchtower October 1, 1970, p. 588;
The Watchtower July 15, 1975, p. 441.
In some Jehovah’s Witnesses’ publications The Watchtower Society mentions higher learning and higher education in quotation marks, because it speaks about “the ‘highest education’ that Jehovah provides through his organization”.