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Should post-secondary education be more skills focused, concept focused, or a combination of both?
In my observations and experiences I have noticed more companies are looking for hard skills and some education as opposed to a four-year degree with soft skills. Do you think four year universities need to emphasize skills training and certification for various programs (Healthcare, IT, Accounting, etc) like two year technical schools do or should something else happen?
I really think they should be more hard skilled focused. This will better their chances of obtaining a position if they concentrate on one skill and become very good at this particular skill.
I agree that it would be helpful, that way you can graduate and work without worrying about going back to school to obtain new skills/certifications.
And what happens to encouraging potentially great minds?
Well I think great minds and thinkers can flourish but maybe a skill can be optional (i.e. elective or minor program) for those who want to pursue careers in the arts.
My answer is probably going to rattle some cages but the university degree of today is costly, often puts the student into huge debt immediately, and a BA pretty much covers what used to be covered by grade 12. A four year degree, in most cases, is an expensive waste of time. Universities should not be involved with skills training other than for professions like medicine, engineering, and law. Leave the rest to more affordable technical schools that know what they're doing and concentrate on where the improvements in education are most needed - elementary and secondary schools. Whatever happened to apprenticeships? Now there's an old idea that just may work well now.
You have a point SilverGenes. I think apprenticeship is a great idea. I did one in high school and it helped me figure out I didn't want that career field.
And I definitely agree that elementary and secondary education needs to be revamped.
How are you going to revamp elementary and secondary ed without teaching programs at university level?
That's an excellent observation ElleBee- they both do play into each other.
Why wouldn't you have teaching programs at the university level? The problem I have with the way the system is now is the high cost of tuition for 4 years covering things that should be done in high school - then you pay more to specialize.
I think I'd ask the question a little differently. My question is "should the students be more focused on technical skills?" The colleges won't change until the demand changes. I also strongly believe that who is on the hook for the tuition debt matters. Government guaranteed student loans shouldn't be granted to those students pursuing useless degrees. If the student and the parents want to pay for them to get a degree in Early Greek Traditional Art then I'm o.k. with it, it's their money. But tax payers shouldn't be guaranteeing the loan.
Who is to judge which degree is useless and which is not? That student of early Greek traditional art could go on to make stellar contributions to bolstering regional economies by way of marketing local arts and crafts on the world market.
I understand your point BuyaBiz but I agree with Sally that it would be too invasive to give loans based on majors. Besides, when students enter college not everyone knows their major.
Post-secondary education in this country has always offered the student a choice of being skill-focused, concept-focused, or both. I'm thinking of the differences between engineering programs (skill-focused) and liberal arts programs (concept-focused), and studies like sociology, psychology, and teaching/education (a combination of both).
It is not the mandate of post-secondary institutions to absorb into their curricula skills training that is available in other venues such as secondary technical schools or specialized certification programs.
If today's companies are looking only for hard skills at the expense of the mind-expanding experiences such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and the understanding of world differences that four-year college graduates can come away with, then they are looking at short-term solutions (immediate bottom line dollars) and not looking toward future growth. This kind of instant gratification strategy has brought us, most recently, fracking.
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