Over the past many years our society has experienced a massive growth in the number of students finishing a university degree. This development is great for the long term prosperity of the society. However, the short term consequences are quite significant and course what can be described as inflation of education.
What happens in society during times of crises is that the demand for labour falls, forcing either wages down or the level of qualifications for employees to rise. Due to the established unions, the reality of flexible wages is non-existing. This means that employees with less qualifications or short education are overtaken by people with a long education and on paper better qualifications.
Let’s observe the scenario from another perspective. A guy with a bachelor expecting to take a job with the usual requirements of a BA, see that the vacancies are taken by people with a masters level. This forces the bachelor to take positions usually possessed by high-school students or people with shorter educations. Then the high-school students are forced to seek even lower and totally push out individuals with no education at all. What we are experiencing is INFLATION in EDUCATION.
Is it a problem for society?
High education will never be considered as a problem of society. However, in the short term we have a lot overqualified people in positions that won’t be challenged and won’t develop new skills, which will result in lazy employees. The issue with educational inflation is that, at a certain stage in the educational process, research and methods become more important than the actual result. This makes academic mumbo-jumbo that is not of any value to the majority of the companies in the market.
What we should aim for is a closer link between industries and our educational institutions, to make more practical educations that focus on skills needed, instead of theory for the matter of the theory. Society needs to realize that if this inflation continues, we will soon see PHD as a requirement for taking care of kids.
University of the Sunshine Coast – 2011 to 2012
I have for a period of 12 months been doing my Double Degree for Aarhus University and University of the Sunshine Coast.
I have lived in Australia for one year, in an international community of international students from all over the world. This experience has taught me a great deal about accepting people’s differences and I have grown friends from nations spread widely all over the world.
Courses I have taken at University of the Sunshine Coast:
1. Semester: Cross Cultural Management, Introduction to Informatics, International Trade and Finance in a Global Economy, Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility.
2. Semester: Business Law and Ethics, Consumer Behaviour, Principles of International Business, Principles of Property Valuation.
This article evolves out of a university community, where students sit in large auditoriums and listen to professors or other forms of lecturers. The main goal for students to attend these lectures is to be enlightened and inspired on a particular subject of their own interest.
However, even though it is the intention to inspire and enlighten the student, it is sadly not always the case. This is usually due to the lack of rhetorical skills of the professor. This does not mean that the lecturer does not know what he or she is talking about, but often the exact opposite, that the lecturer is extremely well informed about the specific subject. However being well informed and holding several PHD’s in a current subject does not equal excellent rhetorical skills.
A theory of Why
Why are these lecturers hired? This is mainly a theory and not a fact. But if you observe how universities take pride in expressing the titles of the professors they employ, you get the feeling that titles and accomplishment such as PHD’s and advanced education counts for more than actual real life skills and experience. These titles and impressive CV’s are highly valued in the world of Universities and are easier to show off online for the support of academics around the world.
It has consequences only to hire based on paper and sadly many of the consequences are to be considered negative. As already stated an impressive CV is not equal great rhetorical skills. A professor’s lack of rhetorical skills will usually result in boredom among the students, which leads to lack of interest. Lack of interest often leads to demotivation, which result in laziness and drop outs. When the exams approach, the students will perform badly and this will give the school a bad reputation. So what ended up being a strategy from the university management to attract the greatest academics, experiences a negative circular effect.
How to solve the Problem
The problem is rooted in how universities perceive themselves. Universities need to change their perspective on their product, from being the salesman of a 50cent sheet of paper to an institution for inspiration and motivation. Instead of putting emphasis on a professor’s academic accomplishments, a university should focus on the professor’s ability to inspire and motivate the students to learn and acquire knowledge on their own. In the end, a University is a self-learning institution and students are expected to study and discover knowledge outside the lecture theaters. Educating professors’ rhetorical skills are not an offense, but a necessity and should strongly be considered by the university management.
As a concluding statement: This example considers the institution of a university, but the same applies in private businesses. Rarely do papers and academic scores tell very much about the person possessing them and should therefore never be relied on exclusively.