– Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University
Education is something I am starting to see being, if not undervalued, then perhaps inappropriately valued. It’s been a slow, insidious erosion and so has flown under the radar for many people. What I mean is that education as an end has all but lost any currency (pun intended) and the expectation is that education must train you for a job.
Now, to be fair, certain kinds of education are intended to prepare you for a specific profession – not necessarily to train you for it, mind, but to give you the basic skills required to enter the profession and practice it successfully (and for long enough without inadvertently causing irremediable damage to life, limb and property) to obtain the experience needed to truly become a professional.
I am the product of just such an education – I studied engineering in university, and along the way to obtaining my degree I learned more about how to learn rather than just sponging up specific job skills by rote. There are lots of professions where your education prepares you to enter your chosen profession without guaranteeing that you will leave
skule school knowing everything you will ever need to know to have a successful career.
Learning is a journey, not a destination. Training, on the other hand, takes you to a specific destination, and that’s not a bad thing either, but it’s useful to differentiate one from the other.
But it appears (to me, at least) there’s a new mindset about education, which seems to manifest itself as a self-centred focus on having the right combination of letters on your résumé/CV, whether they be degrees or the ever proliferating certifications (often fueled, I feel, by a country-club exclusionist/job proctecting mentality and pushed by an industry of well-paid consultants and gurus who specialize in offering courses to obtain these sought after certifications – having to pay for that ticket is seen as the cost of entry into that field’s job-market) to match with the laundry-list of letters HR has been given along with the job requirements for a position.
Now there are valid reasons for certifications – when I’m having a diagnostic medical test done on me, I’d really like it if the technician or practitioner has been certified as competent to use the required equipment or perform the necessary procedure. But many certifications these days seem to be inventions, designed solely to give gravitas to what would otherwise be a low-value-add activity and consequently artificially inflate the price.
Hmm… didn’t start out to rant. How did that happen? I guess it comes from being passionate about education – the day I stop learning, you can put the pennies on my eyes.
I had been mulling over a variety of topics for today’s post on a word beginning with “E” for the A-Z Blogging Challenge, and education was one of them. The tipping point came while I listened earlier in the day to episode 291 of my friend
Ken’s The Scarborough Dude’s ***NSFW (don’t say I didn’t warn you)*** Dicksnjanes Podcast, and by chance he talked about education – it was a sign, I thought, and the deal was sealed.
OK, now that I’ve got today’s writing out of the way and put to bed, I’m off to read today’s missives from my friends Moe (Maureen) and Mark Blaseckie, who blog at A Sudden Alarm of Donkeys and see[sic] respectively. Always worth a read, they are. Oh, and worth listening to as well – you must (don’t make me come after you!) check out their Baba’s Beach podcast.