Skip to content

Rethinking the value of college

When higher education is viewed as being primarily about getting a job, reports of this nature understandably arise: “Today’s economic downturn has blindsided a generation of young people around the globe brought up to believe that a college degree guaranteed them financial prosperity. Whether in the US, China, or in countries in between, graduates from even marquee-name schools are feeling the crunch, prompting many rightly to rethink the value of their education”.
Later in the article, the author turns the focus of college to something more in line with my thinking: “College is not intended to be a trade school. Its purpose is to develop the skills necessary to be lifelong learners who are capable of finding new information, evaluating it, and applying it to the real world”. Of course, if you have a degree and are looking for work, saying “I feel good about my capacity to handle information and can clearly see my contribution to the history of ideas” feels rather hollow.

One Comment

  1. The advocates of the “learning how to think” school of thought rather than the “trade school” approach seem to believe that the two are mutually exclusive. To make it in a practical major like engineering, science or accounting one still has to develop one’s problem solving skills. But you are spot on when you say it feels “hollow” to have advanced your lifelong learning skills and be in the unemployment line or back living with your parents.

    Would love to hear your comments on my blog at:

    Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 8:00 am | Permalink