To What Extent Should University Function as Training Ground for Employment?

Topics: Higher education, Academic degree, Vocational education Pages: 2 (692 words) Published: April 18, 2011
This is a topic of debate that has been going on for years and there's no truly correct answer. It depends on what your purpose in higher education is.

There has been a trend for nearly 30 years though that the university should serve the purpose of vocational training facility instead of the historical role of keeper and distributor of knowledge. Some, myself included, point to this trend as explanation of why a university degree at the bachelor's level no longer has the economic value it once did.

To really look at the question though, you will need to separate the two concepts of training and education. In simplest terms, training provides immediately transferable skills of some sort. Usually along the "how to do" spectrum. Education provides a different set of skills along the "why we do" spectrum particularly the ability to analyze, comprehend, and synthesize information. The two aren't the same. Sometimes they even conflict with each other.

A university is designed to provide education. A vocational or professional school is designed to provide training. Not only is the purpose of the two different, the audience and methods of the two are different.

Some years ago people noticed that those with a university education tend to earn more than those without. It was a valid observation at the time but misapplied causation. So, a lot of people went to the university so that they could earn more money. But, they had placed causation where it doesn't belong. It's not the university education in itself that was the reason for all of those people earning more money - there were (and still are) a lot of other factors involved in that process. [such as: it used to be that mostly wealthier people went to the university. Surprise! Wealthier people have more money even if they don't go to the university. They aren't wealthy because they went to the university, they went to the university because they're wealthy.]

With all of those extra people in the...
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