Universities World Wide

Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 03:28 pm
I have a degree from the college of life.

I left school (Europe) at age 18 and began work. I have taken many classes, been trained in specific areas by employers, signed up for other classes that interested me (non-college) and if I were to match all those classes against a degree then I would have that piece of paper.

I am one who wishes I had that piece of paper but balk at the cost of going back to college when I am already qualified (just as qualified as my co-workers who have degrees and are doing the same work as me). My reason for not doing so, at this late stage, is because it will cost me a fortune ($40k?) and will not increase my salary (I already earn good money) or promote me to a level higher than I am in. If I could go back I would not change that I started work young - it was excellent experience and I learned much. I do wish I had guidance to incorporate some college program into the years while at work and developed my interest in a specific area as I learned what work I liked and did not like. A college degree (sans social activities) could, in reality take two years full-time to complete or four years if employed full-time.

I think, and correct me if I am wrong, that the high school level of education has dropped or is not sufficient in this country. I think that a better basic education is more important than over 50% of the population continuing to earn a college education.

I had always believed that only special people (those smarter than average), rich people (those whose parents had big businesses and expecting their younglings to follow their footsteps), or those who wanted specific professions (doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc.) that required higher education, went on to college. These days it's difficult to find anyone around me without a college education, regardless of whether they are a director of a financial institution or an employee of a fast-food establishment. I didn't realize that 70% of people do not have a college degree. I wonder how many of that 70% are elderly and no longer in the work-force or are currently in college working towards their degree?

Besides, I think the cost of a degree here in the U.S. is astronomical. If I had the option I would go home to Ireland, get my degree there (if I could do it in two years or less) and return here with my piece of paper!
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Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 03:32 pm
Anon: whew, slow down dude we are all (i think on the same page here) education is the best hope for any kind of meaningful future for everyone, but the flip side of this coin is that we have many "educated" people that cannot think there way out of a paper bag. my grandfather (cherokee indian) had a 3rd grade education yet be could provide excellent discourse on the relative merits of Platonic vs Aristotlean philosophy whereas there is living next door to me an MBA who thinks evolution is satanic trickery used to seduce the "unbelievers".
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 03:42 pm
Well, I don't know about the US-American educational system personally, only "second hand".

One of my friends studied history in the USA (John Hopkings). He got a BA there for a thesis, which was accepted as half term homework here. And as is said on "my favorite webside"
"Much of the material of German Gymnasiums is taught in the first two years of American colleges." ('Gymnasium" = high school)

Another difference:
"Seventy per cent of the students who finish post-primary school then go on to work in a company, a workshop, private business or industry. Unlike in other countries, however, the vocational training is not solely left to the employer. Apart from the training and the experience that the trainees gain at the workplace they also attend a vocational school (Berufsschule) where they are taught various subjects relating to their work. The so called dual system (work experience plus specialised theoretical knowledge) has the advantage of giving young people a broad base in their vocational training and providing them with specialised knowledge for skilled work (click these links for examples of vocational training and a guild ). The dual system has its roots in the system which the guilds founded to train their craftsmen and thus dates back to the Middle Ages. The guilds were craftsmen associations, set up to protect their members' rights and defend their interests. Since almost all jobs now require a relatively high degree of technical skill as well as specialised knowledge the dual system of vocational training has proved to be very effective. "

Especially the last is really a very good form of education, especially, since people can get academic degrees afterwards at colleges and universities, too.
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Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 03:44 pm
anon -- I am in no means trying to demean the value of education, just saying that the sort of education you describe is in short supply at many institutions of higher learning.

And I am very much in agreement with Heeven (and others, probably) that educational problems -- particularly where class inequality is so obvious -- in the U.S. need to be remedied at the primary and secondary level.
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Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 04:22 pm
I agree with you dyslexia - at no level do educational institutions in the U.S. provide students with a world view, aka the Well Rounded Education. I certainly didn't get one in high school and college in the 70s and 80s. From what I hear, its worse today - music programs, geography and history education, teaching of second languages and even teaching of the English language are secondary or non-existent in high schools and even earlier. Colleges today are about learning a trade, the specialized training you speak of. This is no surprise in the rapidly changing economic world we live in, and especially in the U.S. where money is everything. But we have paid and will continue to pay for our ignorance of the wider world out there. How many times have we heard that knowledge of other countries, geography, history, art, languages, etc. are irrelevant and can be ignored or put to the side in favor of more specialized training, technical programs, computer education, etc. in the teaching of children and older teens. All of us see the ignorance of the american and usually joke about it - the 22 year old who doesn't know where Germany is, the 25 year old who composes incomprehensible memos at work, even some who couldn't tell you who the Vice President is, or who was President before Bill Clinton. This is all very funny until events like 9/11 happen - then we wonder "Why do they hate us so much?" "Where the hell is Afghanistan?" "Why did this happen?" It happened because of our ignorance - a shallow and deficient educational system created an ignorant and shortsighted people who then elected officials who implemented shortsighted or self-serving foreign policies because we didn't care to watch what they were doing in countries we knew nothing about and certainly didn't care about. I don't say this to make a point about Bush or Clinton or Bush or Reagan - I say it to make a point about the people who elected them.

We can still have the strongest economy in the world and teach children how to make a living, but I just can't believe we continue to teach children such a shallow and restricted view of the world we live in.
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Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 04:39 pm

Am reminded of the response I got from one of my biology classmates who saw a book (not the assigned textbook) about the course material in my bag. "You actually like reading this stuff?" It's a pretty common attitude among students: "Why are you doing more than you have to? (Why are you bothering to learn?)"
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Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 05:26 pm
I spent some time in England when I was younger. I thought I was pretty smart. I felt like an idiot. What a wake-up call for me to the quality of the education I had just received.
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Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 10:31 pm

In my opinion the poll question itself here sets up a very interesting debate. <obviously>. Is education of a college level necessary or not? Well..thats a big old can of worms. Necessary to whom, for what, and BTW...what kind of education? What type of college?

Not an incredible deal has been said about your original post really....although a great many interesting other topics have been added.....

How did you pick your college or University and if you have children have you made plans yet?

My thoughts are this, without taking into account what others have already stated etc, that my idea was that an education was needed beyond high school for me personally. Was it the only way for me to become educated in the profession in which I am degreed? No. In fact, all collegues in the same profession think I lost my mind for paying a fortune for that education. I felt at the time, however that I desperately needed that education which included a great many things other than simply my preferred choice of major, and I was correct. The piece of paper and line item on my resume do nothing however for how I pay my bills. That experience came from my high school education and training. Which BTW was an inner city school, great on trades but lacking otherwise.
I choose the University I did due to a great many contributing factors, and price and/or acceptance really did not play a role. The available cirriculum, including month long internships, ability to take on minor areas of study, in a small private non coed, away from home environment was the only was I was going. Luckily, they wanted me Smile.
The choices we make for or against education are highly personal with a great many factors that contribute to the end result, for the most case. Those that dont make that choice either themselves, or for the wrong reasons, well, that is also a personal choice.
I do believe that in the NE for the last few years there has been a trend in HR practices to require degrees that are simply ridiculous...like a receptionist needs a Bachelors Degree...I know the phone systems can be a bit much..but really???? On the other hand most HR Departments will include that it is either a degree or a certian amount of experience that was being required of the position. Which also can inlcude or take into consideration military training. This is only a hinderance for those persons who dont have the background, or those recently graduated from high school. Now, I worked through High School, played Sports, and received Honors. Perhaps if there is a problem with the education system in general it lies in the end with the parents....really. The school is there, theres a library available for those who know where it is, and those students wishing to learn, to live life, will. Those who want a free ride, would rather just get an allowance than work, want to play sports and nothing else, want to sit home and play games, dont use their computers for learning, well..they're missing out on what is there for them, arent they? And is this completely their fault, or the fault of the government for not giving them everything they need? Is not learning to learn, finding out how to learn, seeking answers all part of the whole? I could rant on and on but, basically....
University learning isnt a bad thing, unless you let it be.
Not having a degree also isnt a bad thing, life lends its own lessons, and a piece of paper isnt going to make you better than the guy next to you.
Education and educators arent bad.
Students that dont take advantage of what they have available to them, well, they get what they deserve.
Parents who have children who dont learn obviously went wrong somewhere, or let something go wrong somewhere.
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Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 10:36 pm
Seems that education is getting more and more specific. I wanted the over-all education while in college, but I was pushed HARD to find a major and stick to it.....
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Reply Tue 28 Jan, 2003 10:43 pm
Yes, it does seem that way...had to do alot of heart to heart with the godson to get him to consider firstly taking on Community College....could plainly see however he wasnt exactly sure of what he wanted to do, wasnt sure if he was ready for college, but didnt want to not go either. Seems many were saying around him- you're good at this, you enjoy that, you should know what you want to do with the rest of your life, yes? He was much more at ease when he realized he didnt have to make that decision right away but had an option as well.
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