4 years ago1,000+ Views
A study found, according to it's headline, that "Test Finds College Graduates Lack Skills for White-Collar Jobs" followed by "Forty Percent of Students Seen Ill-Prepared to Enter Work Force; Critical Thinking Key" Excuse me....what? Now, I see a lot of things wrong with that title after actually looking at the data. Perhaps a better title for this story could be "college education produces big gains in critical reasoning skills needed for white-collar jobs." Although 14% leave college with "below basic" skills, 31% enter college at that level; and proficient or higher increases from 37% to 61%. That's a pretty substantial improvement, although some of it could also be due to attrition of weaker students. But mainly, this article makes me think of one big thing: university was never meant to train you to get a job. It was meant to provide knowledge. And knowledge, depending on who is receiving it and who teaches it, doesn't always mean that you'll gain the other skills that are needed to work a white collar job such as critical thinking, analytical reasoning, writing and communication. Of course, depending your major, you're going to get different levels of this education: I'd be interested to see this data divided by major and see any differences. All in all though, it comes back down to a big problem that has happened with the idea of university. Colleges are sold to future students with the idea that they will "lead you to your dream job," and often they might because they teach you the knowledge that you might need to get that job. But they cannot get the job for your. Colleges aren't trying to get you a job. Their purpose is to (well, besides make money) educate you, and that doesn't mean educate you to get a job. Those who lack intellectual curiosity can rack up a mountain of college credits, fulfilling distribution requirements, and still be just as clueless as when they finished high school. It's not the college classes that are the problem, but how they are marketed and how we are using them.
@greggr Up until now, though, a degree did equal a higher ability to get a job. That's changing, surely, but it also has to do with this problem.
Education is education no matter what it teaches: how is it any of our rights to decide what should or shouldn't be taught? The real problem here is not what is taught, its the false promises that are told to students when looking at colleges (i.e. don't promise job skills if they won't be taught). Also, with the false perception in society that a degree = a higher level of knowledge, as that is not always the case! Knowledge is the only thing that equals knowledge, I'm afraid.
@amog32 I think so. To be honest, jobs and life are supposed to teach you the skills related to jobs, not school, unless you're going somewhere more technical.
Education, as you said, should work to inspire people to want to learn, but if we don't teach any other skills, can this really be enough? @drwhat