After twelve years of schooling, plus two university degrees and a four-year business certificate, I have lots of experience with the Education System. I am not alone as there are lots of people who have lots of letters behind their names to reflect educational attainments. The Education System is vibrant and always expanding. It is now possible to get certificates in everything from being a beautician to being a health care attendant. We have so many options, it can be overwhelming.
Variety and choice is a wonderful thing, but do we actually get what we pay for when it comes to Education? My biggest problem with our Educational System, from grade school all the way to doctoral studies and the ever-expanding range of certificate programs and vocational diplomas, is that because it run by institutions who dictate what needs to be learned, but the actual usefulness of the information is questionable.
Based on my own experience and the reports from my spouse and all of the professionals I have worked with, the university education we received was not helpful in their ability to do their job. We all came out with an institutional framework that was completely inadequate to working in the real world. We did not come out prepared but instead were transfixed with false expectations about our role. Our heads were filled with idealism that had not relation about how the world works. It took years of un-learning what the university taught us, just so we could properly function in the workplace. Not a great use our time or of our public and private dollars.
University Education has graduated woefully inadequate people into positions of responsibility. There are doctors, nurses, social workers, engineers, teachers, and many more who have professional degrees who are poorly prepared for the real work-world. The Educational System does a terrible job weaning out the incompetent from practicing on the community, but then why would it want to? Every person who is enrolled in a course is helping pay for the salaries of the Educators.
On the positive side, I can say that my business certificate courses was a 100% more practical and useful than my university courses. I question their marketability and whether they are over delivering of information that will never be used. The scope of information learned is at times so advanced that people become over-educated for the actual position they will end up performing.
A friend of mine recently left a job at a technical college. He told me how the people he was teaching were learning skills and information that they would never use in the workplace because the marketplace would instead force them to do work that is less demanding and posseses less responsibility. The sad irony is that these people graduate with their certificates possessing the interest and likely the ability to do more than what the marketplace will allow them to do. I have found stories of Legal Secretaries who learn lots of basic law and legal procedures, yet they end up being little more than gloried personal assistants for Lawyers. There are Engineering Technicians who learn fundamental engineering principles but will not be qualified to do much more than some task orientated work that is overseen by an Engineer. At the minimum, these diplomas course should be much shorter since the actual responsibilities of their jobs are far less than what they are taught in school. Of course, for every course and year of education, that means more money to help pay the salaries of the Educators.
Do you see a trend? Universities fail us by feeding us courses and degrees that are not adequate for the workplace. Yet colleges and other settings fool us by teaching us courses that we will never use or will be beyond our actual scope. Our Education System educates us with too much knowledge for jobs where experience and coworkers could teach all that we knew, and then does not educated us adequately with its emphasis on academics which is not relevant in most professions.
So what is the solution? The problem is that our Educational System is bloated with false understandings of human need and greedy self-interest and it is not going to easily change. Do I advocate dropping out and not pursuing a formal education? No. We need to be practical and treat the Educational System as a game, recognize it for its inadequacies, but be prepared to participate. I have personally benefited from my participation since the money and benefits I receive are directly related to my educational accreditation. I will encourage my children to participate in it because no matter how artificial the process, it is the simplest way to establish higher paying positions in society. Its a paper-chase, a ticket. Nothing more, nothing-less.
The fact is that our society is far less efficient and effectively run because our Educational System Fails and Fools Us. I will be researching the work of John Taylor Gatto who has some very radical ideas of Education and then reporting back if his in-depth criticism has something of value. Stay tuned.