Why do people still see value in the current educational system? (My point of view)

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Hummer, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. Hummer macrumors 65816

    Hummer

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    #1
    I am 20 years old, and it's come to a point where I realize that somewhere along the line I will need the degree that I should be so close to having, but do not because of all of the dedication I've put into networking and building references through real world experience. It has been drilled into my head for years that I need an education and that I need to go to school. I agree with education being a necessity, but I don't necessarily agree anymore with going to school. This is not because I don't see school as being a learning experience, it is because I don't see going to school as a financially sound option.

    I see the acquisition of knowledge as a very important matter and I cannot perceive why, in this day and age, there isn't a way to obtain an accredited degree on one's own time, at little to no cost. I am speaking beside all merits and scholarships, most of which not everyone is able to obtain. All of the information that is taught within an academic setting is obtainable through the purchasing of a textbook, which you have to pay for anyways when enrolling for classes, or for free online. As Bill Gates has even said, “Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world. It will be better than any single university.”

    Why is there currently a social pressure to pay dues to an institution, to then receive the credentials currently necessary to obtain work in the real world? Also, why does the attitude of the general population still support this system when it is clearly not the most efficient?
     
  2. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #2
    Obviously I'm coming from a completely different system to the US (we get a loan from the government to cover fees and living, which is paid back via a percentage of our earnings when we graduate).

    I can think of a few points.

    Undergraduates aren't really what university is about, from their point of view. It is about graduates and research, this is the value in universities. In the UK we have the Russell Group of universities (20 of the top institutions) that account for two thirds of the research grants in the UK. They produce research which changes lives all around the world.

    Whether it is correct or not, there is a lot of value to having a degree from a well known university. A potential employer will be impressed.

    It is more than just education. I finished my undergrad course last year, and although I am happy now I look back with great memories, and I stay in regular contact with a few people.

    I do think too many people go to uni. I'm not trying to be overly elitist, but half of the population shouldn't need to go. I don't mind my taxes (although that isn't much!) funding people doing "proper" degrees at "proper" unis, but I object to paying for someone doing "Golf Management Studies". There should be more apprenticeships and vocational courses.
     
  3. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #3
    Most employers don't care that you got a degree from school X. They care that you were intelligent enough to be accepted into school X, and sufficiently hardworking to stick it out.
     
  4. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #4
    Agree. It's a used as a filter by employers but the degree implies both points in the last sentence, does it not?

    To the OP, most 18yo are not disciplined enough to self-direct to a degree level. Thus we need a structured institution to do it for them. Grad degrees involve a lot more self-directed learning.
     
  5. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #5
    In the UK, we have the Open University, where, for something like £600 a year, you can do a modular, recognised degree in anything you want. Six modules gets you an Honours Degree. The entire course an be done from home.
     
  6. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    #6
    I'm going to assume your a liberal arts/business school type student in which case what your saying makes sense. Because every single one of those bloody basket weaving degrees is so ridiculously simple that anyone could learn it with or without a degree.

    If you were a pre-med, engineering, or chemistry student you would be far less to inclined to think of time at university as being unnecessary.

    I doubt your average textbook contains:

    -Cadavers
    -Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Machines
    -IR spectroscographs

    Not to mention all the other smaller less expensive pieces of equipment.

    Also learning subjects like Orgo, Pchem, Anatomy, etc, etc can be quite hard to just "learn from a textbook".

    If you think you think the point of school is "networking and building references through real world experience" then you should go back and get a degree that actually matters :rolleyes:. Instead of becoming the next palm greasing business major who cons those who actual accomplish **** out of their money.
     
  7. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #7
    Statistics continue to show that people with college degrees earn more and are generally less vulnerable in economic downturns. And as others have said, whether you have a degree has become a filter that employers use.
     
  8. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #8
    Not always. Have you heard of the "Gentleman's C"?

    As the practice of using IQ tests to screen out potential employees was deemed illegal in the early 1970's, the perhaps unintended consequence of that ruling has been to shift the screening process onto the academic system. This is why a degree from Harvard is much more valuable than one in a similar discipline from West Montana A&M State Tech.
     
  9. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    #9
    This also applies more to liberal arts degrees than the sciences.

    With a few exceptions an engineering degree is an engineering degree no matter where you get it. I have a couple of friends getting Engineering degrees at Brown, and I have several getting degrees at Virginia Tech and at VCU.

    So far there have been few disparity's between the types of internships those students have been able to gain. In the non BS (as in Bull **** not bachelors in science) fields achievement ranks above school name...

    The exceptions to this rule are institutions like MIT and the students from those schools tend to be sought after because their curriculum is obscenely difficult.
     
  10. itcheroni macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    You're way ahead of the curve. It took me a while to figure out that our educational system is a failure. I got a degree in literature as an undergrad and I paid just as much tuition as an engineering student. That's almost like paying the same amount to either learn how to fish or learn how to enjoy eating fish. It's a ripoff to tell 18 year olds that their literature degree will do anything productive for them other than letting people know you can read and write (if that).

    You should check out this commentary on how government programs drive up college tuitions. Private colleges used to be affordable just working a summer job. Now it's more than the average person makes in a whole year.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/SchiffReport#p/search/2/AIcfMMVcYZg
     
  11. Hummer, Apr 21, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011

    Hummer thread starter macrumors 65816

    Hummer

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    #11
    This is what I question. Having a degree from school X does not denote a level of intelligence or work ethic. These days, "sticking it out" is a matter of following regiment and not level of intellect or performance. Not to mention that your degree from school X doesn't display your GPA, which I'm sure we both agree is not indicative of brains.

    I agree that most 18-year-olds suffer from a lack of obedience; however, the structured institutions you mention that are supposed to correct this unguided behavior are currently non-mandated and would not appear to benefit the adolescents in mention. Since secondary school in the US is mandatory until the age of 16 or 17 (depends on the state), and college is not, the sophomore and junior terms of high school should be used to teach discipline. Because this is not the case, a juvenile student who does not already seek a college level regiment of work will not choose to do so without significant pressure in the guise of support from family members.

    Does this mean that our adolescents, well into their young adult years still need to have their hand held until they understand what hard work is about?

    There is also the fact there are young adults who would like to obtain a degree, but simply don't have the resources (money and/or time) to enroll in a highly structured institution, or even online courses. There should be opportunities for the self-driven to obtain a degree without enrolling in a rigid and expensive program.

    Moving to the UK sounds like a really good idea to me, right now.

    I'm actually attending an engineering university, for civil construction, but that is beside the point. I also don't see any problem with acquiring the information outside of a classroom. Most of my work experience is in business management, as I am finding that there would be no way to establish an initiative on my own without this experience.

    The following is a hypothetical example of what I would like to see:

    The Department of Education would set a regiment of information and formulate a standardized test for all fields of study that they currently grant institutions accreditation to teach. If I would like to become a doctor, I must know a certain amount of information and have a certain amount of hours in controlled labs and cadaver work. I would then be able to purchase hours in controlled labs and practice on cadavers at these accredited institutions without having to enroll in their program as I'd be teaching myself the textbook information. After I have this knowledge, complete this amount of hours, and pass the Department of Education's standardized test that would include a hands-on session, I get my degree. This would be all at my own pace and financial ability.

    The reason I don't think this happens currently is because it is not the most profitable plan of action for the institutions, and that's all they care about.


    EDIT: Forget everything I just said and watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIcfMMVcYZg, posted by itcheroni.
     
  12. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Some institutions are better than others, and are harder to get into. A CV with Harvard, Yale, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge etc is going to stand out. Some unis are so bad that having them on your CV is likely to get it binned.

    Whether or not this is right is academic (see what I did there?!), it is the reality. Better university often means better job.
     
  13. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #13
    I think goes one step beyond that. Government programs aren't at fault [directly], but more the current liberal thinking that everyone can go, should go, and deserves to go to college. This thinking creates a spike in demand, which in turn creates a spike in price. If nothing else, you have to hire more money to pay for the extra teachers, degree programs, services, etc. This assumption is also patently untrue on its face - some people just aren't cut out for university level work, and many jobs do not require a university degree. Yet we keep telling our young people that their lives will be ruined without a BA in basket weaving.

    I would also argue that it's a further symptom of our country's unwillingness to make do with less. More specifically, that enrollment must increase each year (and get those matching federal dollars!), else there might be something wrong with the school. Well, once you recruit all the A students you can, you have to dip into the B students, and so forth. Education should be about raising standards, not lowering them to cast a wider net of tuition-paying warm bodies.

    As I said above, it's less a matter of having the degree, and more of a matter of the particular school deciding that you met its criteria to pursue the degree. It's a fine distinction, but an important one. People who graduate from Harvard have a reputation for being really smart, because Harvard only accepts and graduates really smart people.

    Further, "following regiment" is most certainly an indicator of intelligence in that those with higher intelligence have been consistently shown to have superior future time orientation (delayed gratification, if you will) than those without. The smarter, more disciplined student is going to make sure all his work is done while the dullard slacks off to go to the kegger.
     
  14. Hummer thread starter macrumors 65816

    Hummer

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    #14
    If I play follow the leader because I know it's in my best interest to do so, it doesn't necessarily lend me a higher IQ or a greater deal of knowledge.
     
  15. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    #15
    So are you a student of engineeringor do you attend a university of civil engineering? I attend the most highly rated public art school in the country, but I'm not a part of the art program so it's in-material. In other words what is your degree??

    Who is controlling your controlled labs, who is ensuring that you don't do something monumentally stupid while in those labs? How do you schedule these sessions? Do you just buy time whenever you feel like working with a cadaver because cadavers are hardly common things.

    What your talking about is a class and a class is run by a teacher :eek:.

    Ass for the youtube video you posted the guy raises some interesting if unsubstantiated claims. I would be interested to see what exactly university's spend tuition on. I found it doubtful that the increase in tuition has occurred just because the government has made loans available to students.
     
  16. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    #16
    So just out of curiosity why didn't you work 10 times as hard and become an engineer?

    Why didn't you do a little re-search on your own and figure out that literature is a hobby and not a job? Who told you that you should get a degree in literature? Because no advisor I ever talked to suggested that a get a degree in literature (and they definitely never told me there were jobs in literature :rolleyes:).
     
  17. Hummer, Apr 21, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011

    Hummer thread starter macrumors 65816

    Hummer

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    #17
    I am going for a degree in civil engineering.



    Yes, a professor would be there to provide some kind of guidance, during the controlled lab you paid for à la carte, to fulfill the requirements setup by the Board of Education to obtain your degree. These labs, sessions, or what have you would be scheduled and hosted by an institution of higher learning for a profit. The only difference is that you would be spending money ONLY on these hours in a lab that you couldn't possibly reproduce on your own without the funds. This is as opposed to enrolling in a full-time or half-time program, where you're spending money on lectures, recitations, and labs – the first two which are unnecessary overhead for our subject because he or she is self-driven and has studied all of the information necessary at this point.
     
  18. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #18
    While we have people in the U.S. who think a free public education should be done away with. :(

    Regarding the OP, as previously said, the degree proves you have the backbone, desire, discipline, and aptitude to complete what can be a challenging program in your chosen field. It's a screening process. You'll still have to prove yourself on the job...
     
  19. itcheroni macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Who said I'd rather do engineering? You're jumping to conclusions. I just think a literature degree should have been cheaper. I'm doing fine. :D But I'm the exception.
     
  20. ender land macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    If all you are learning at a college is just "textbook knowledge" you are doing it wrong. There are so many things other than just factual knowledge I learned throughout the seven semesters it took me to get my engineering degree.
     
  21. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68020

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    #21
    I think with modern technology, we really need to seriously look at "rethinking" the very idea of formal education from the ground up.

    Here's the thing: by definition the education system enforces conformity, which worked great in industrial societies but not so great in our current post-industrial society. Indeed, the founders of major tech companies of our time--Microsoft, Apple, and more recently Facebook--were founded by college drop-outs, proof that holding a degree is not a complete guarantee of success.
     
  22. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

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    #22
    As has been already mentioned, one of the main points in having a general college degree is showing that you can followthrough with something and that you should be able to write and communicate adequately. Some occupations, such as College Professor, require degrees for obvious reasons. Some occupations don't need degrees. Uneducated people start up businesses all the time and porn stars don't need degrees.

    I know several people with only GEDs who have become very successful, but you've got to have something extra to make this happen—brains, charisma, motivation, etc.

    Although I didn't realize it at the time, going to University and getting my bachelor's degree was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. As much as I treasure my University education, I think too many people are pushed into going to college when it isn't right for them.
     
  23. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #23
    To be fair, both Gates and Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard, which means they had to have the mental faculties to be accepted to Harvard in the first place. I don't know much about Reed College (where Jobs went briefly), but a quick glance at its wiki page tells me it's most definitely not a party school. These guys come from the extreme right of the bell curve, so it's fair to say they were probably going to succeed at whatever they chose to do.

    Contrary to popular thinking, [an elite] college does not make you smart. The common wisdom confuses cause and effect. Rather, being smart gets you into [an elite] college.
     
  24. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

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    #24
    Top level colleges usually have more rigorous courses. The bar is set higher because everyone is from the top percent of their high school class. The example of MIT was mentioned. Being smart gets you in, but you should leave with more knowledge and better critical thinking skills.
     
  25. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #25
    Paraphrasing Flowers for Algernon, being smart is the cup, knowledge is with what you fill it. My point is that no college on earth can provide you with a bigger cup.
     

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