The devaluation of tertiary education

This is an issue which I have experienced personally and observed at  a close distance. A lot friends are now a days training in something different during college and ending up doing else else altogether after it. Undergraduate education is simply not enough to make a mark in front of the employers. Of course my friends from the IIT’s, ITB’s, Grand Ecole’s and the Ivy Leagues would differ but this post is describing some lesser mortals such as the author.  I write and speak in the tenor of the usual graduate student, not a straight A Player. I desire not towards being ‘Ivy Retarded’. Most engineers and lawyers train to be them as an insurance policy rather than interest to carve a career. Engineers  who wont be able to design a simple device, are not good engineers.

College education teaches skills which can be learnt else where, by engaging in internships, community service, lab and workshop work and social learning. An MBA cannot teach entrepreneurship to an entrepreneur as can a person who begins a start up. I learnt more about real world job skills by co-leading a social entrepreneurship project at AIESEC NUS and working in Environmental Consulting in Oman for a year then in three years in grad school.  Most of time in Graduate school has been enriching as far as meet some very smart people and creating meaningful relationships. Library access is so much of a blessing. Having great mentors in supervisors and teachers is awesome. But these things can be learnt in a non school setting as well. Just take a library membership and become connected to right clubs, that would help. More importantly take risks. The paradigm of life long employment is long gone.

Freelance writing has taught me more about writing then any book has ever taught me. Today’s education cannot train us for the jobs of tomorrow. Relearning and de-learning as well as learn-bility is more important than the data that is in our head. Learning is competitiveness, and adaptability is the name of the game. Most of my grad school colleagues had a difficulty in finding employment, which is value creation directed. I have faced hiccups in my job search as well.

Many people go to business school, because of the campus recruitment process or because of an increase in potential salaries taking up tremendous debt, that will take years to pay back. Thinking technology in other terms is called education. It is about developing the capacity for gaining skills for the job market.

I am giving a serious rethink about pursuing a PhD like i was planning earlier. I can be a better writer, or a consultant if I can get a real life opportunity, rather than staying in school for 5 more years. I support executive education and online learning, impactful learning is the syntax to be applied here. My adjunct faculty have taught me better at school than full professors. Something is seriously incorrect.

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