Friday, July 12, 2013

In Defense Of College (Partial, Short)

Specifically, in response to the rather stupid opinion reflected by the "employers" in this article.  When a person gets a college education, it must have rather limited real world use.  That's the nature of it.  It is the responsibility of the companies and businesses hiring to instruct their new hires on the application of their knowledge to their new position.  The university system isn't meant to be job training for Boeing, it's meant to be education, that allows for people to more easily move into certain fields.

That said, early on it sounds like the article is complaining that colleges are not doing that job well, but even that is somewhat misleading.  If you require people to have a college degree and more and more people get one because of that basic requirement, then you are naturally pushing down the educational value of said college degree.  People who would have gotten training (votec/practitioner/whatever) are now getting degrees, because of that requirement.  Moreover, by seeing this as a job requirement rather than an education, students and faculty alike are apt to downplay the education aspect.

We seem to want colleges to be this amazing thing (and considering the price, they sure as shit should be!) but college isn't really meant to be amazing in the way that people think of it.  Education is supposed to be a base of knowledge.  How large and well founded that base is makes a difference, so college is better than high school.  By the same token however, what goes on top of that base is not necessarily reflective of it.  Someone may have a good base, but be unable to build.  Someone else may have a base that seems good but is completely displaced from where they go.

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