Bluke posted a recap of an article in the Hebrew Mishpacha magazine about age discrimination in Kollelim. It seems that in Israel (I don't know if this problem exists in the United States or elsewhere) averichim over the age of forty are having difficulty getting into Kollelim. Bluke passes along some of the reasons given in the article. One of the reasons given is as follows:
Someone who is still just sitting and learing in kollel in their 40's is not going to become a Rosh Yeshiva, Rosh Kollel etc. The fact that they haven't moved up shows that they are not so successful.
When reading this, I'm left with a question: what, exactly, is the point of the Kollel system? Is it to produce the next generation of leaders/gedolim, or is it to have as many people as possible learn for as long as possible, for the learning's own sake?
If it's the former, then why do we have whole communities learning in Kollel? It should be restricted to those that show the potential/aptitude to become communal leaders in the future. Everyone else should be told to go get a job, support their families and the Kollel financially, and come back for night seder.
If it's the latter, then what difference does it make if the over-40 married man is still "just learning?" He wants to sit and learn, and we want to encourage everyone who can to sit and learn... so let him join the Kollel.
Does the Kollel system actually have a defined purpose?