Now here is a subject close to everybody’s heart. We all have things to say about education. We of course bemoan standards, normally the lack of them or significant drop in them, compared to “our day”.
Those of us who are “older” will note the educational inflation. A degree was once worth something as fewer people had them, employers and HR departments had not made a degree a necessity for roles that never needed them before (and to be quite honest, in many cases still don’t).
The agenda for the European education ministers meeting in Kyiv on 22/23 September would be an interesting read.
Now some of us will state that due to so many degrees, MA’s and MBA’s are now the new degree, (the degree now being downgraded to A Level equivalent) and the PhD is now the new MA/MBA. As soon as MBAs/MAs become common (as is rapidly happening), they will become educationally deflated to a lesser meaning.
Sir Ken Robinson has some very interesting thoughts on this subject, many of which I agree with.
However, one has to suppose that actually dealing with education as a process of benefits for society and an association to individual happiness (and its cumulative happiness index effects on society) rather than churning out yet more Business Management degrees and MBAs (and yes amongst my qualifications I hold such a qualification courtesy of York University), said ministers will be looking at process and benchmarking against various national models for equitable purposes for international education, rather than the net result of the process and what that fairly well educated individual will contribute to society as a result of the time and money invested in them.
That is not meant to belittle Business Management degrees and MBAs, however, when there are so many holders of that particular degree, they do, as I have said, become commonplace and less valuable to an individual and employer.
My other degree is in Civil Engineering. Of Business Management and Civil Engineering, which do you think has always offered me better paid work and consistent interest from employers and head hunters?
I am now seriously considering doing an MA in a political science, but not for employment purposes, simply to fill my time as I have nothing better to do. This MA is highly unlikely to get me a job in Ukraine as Ukraine is quite capable and does produce its own political science graduates and post graduates. For me, if I decide to do it, it will rank highly on my happiness index although one suspects completely useless to me as far as employment opportunities go. Particularly as I am not exactly looking for a job.
For you dear readers, well, you may well get a far better blog to read……then again…..maybe not!
For my boy, it would undoubtedly be beneficial to have me do it as he will be diving into the Bachelor’s degree political sciences at a UK university (IELTS score depending) next year. One suspects either IR or media. He has a very clear idea of the career he wants to have.
Anyway, the meeting of European education ministers does not really fill one with confidence that the system will be challenged or robust discussions held over ideological changes to produce happy products and the benefits of a happy populous to society or inherently GDP (a happy worker and all that).
Occasionally there needs to be a severe challenging to the established and conventional wisdom not necessarily to change the process but to change the outcome and end product. Ever since I left full time education for example, lateral thinking, problem solving, contingency planning and all those adult real life things have been actively encouraged by employers.
Why is it that the full time education systems start by educating the populous out of those abilities? The answer I suspect is that education is now a business and thus suffers from the inflationary pressures on qualification no differently that an economy suffers inflation during boom and bust cycles.
My last temp receptionist before retiring from life in the UK had an Hons Degree in English. Necessary for the role? No of course not. Could she get a different or full time job? No, that was why she was temping. This was during the boom and not bust years almost a decade ago!
Time for a drastic rethink in European education? – Certainly a consideration surely.
Do we continue to produce square pegs for anticipated and existing square holes or do we allow the pegs to emerge in a shape more befitting the individual and allow them to happily and comfortably define their own space in the free market which leads to innovation and SME’s that drive an economy?
Do we need to be taught Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or are we already aware of what drives people without having to be taught the academic labels he defined?
Did gravity not exist before Newton wrote it down? Were we unaware that what went up subsequently came back down if we threw it in the air?
After all, on-line gamers solved in 3 weeks what scientists have failed to do in 10 years!