By Kedrick Lilweti White
Each and every graduate should be sorted after in order to declare that today's educational system is efficient. It is ludicrous to to think that an entity can affix their stamp on a piece of document (diploma) and not bare the consequence for the inefficiency. Now that we live in a 'ratings' society where everything is rated, poor ratings must be given to institutions of higher learning whose graduates are not in high demand.
From kindergarten up through to the PhD level, it seems like all we have been doing is general education. It is as if we take all the seeds, prepare them (when they are ready), and broadcast them in the wind.
It can be easily proven that many graduates, if not all, are left out in the cold to fend for themselves eventhough possibilities exist. This 'wind-broadcasting' is at any level of the current educational process. The result is what we now have, 'survival of the fitest' or simple put 'only the rich and well connected get selected'; and together with a handful of extraordinary ones.
We have a wonderful and advanced system of higher learning. We also have a brilliant jobs market that must be supported by 'a' system of higher learning. Why then are we not exploring the option to include a Targeted Educational System for specific or guided results?
The top rated programs in the top rated schools of higher learning already somewhat enjoy the benefits of a form of specific or guided results. Students from such programs are in high demand, and necessarily so.
The professional sports recruitment program also somewhat enjoy the benefits of targeting individuals early and provide them guided or selective education. All the while hoing to achieve a desired outcome. As a result, these players (graduates) are in high demand, even before they exit in some cases.
Yes, individual's choice and skills are extremely necessary and so does guidance... providing the right talent spotters along the way where each student's own 'bent', interest can be cultivated and guided.
The top rated programs account for only a few examples of efficiency. It seems to favor the rich and well connected at top rated schools and a handful of extraordinary ones. What about the rest, "go fend for yourselfs" they would say. It is not that the current system does not work. It does, but it is not efficient!
In most cases, high talent is being wasted, not by choice, but by the lack of connectivity or direction. This group is usually the poor and less well connected. The world's most important resource is being underutilized because of inefficiency. Our societies suffer in many ways as a result of such.
Some began to put in place and implement Grant's and Scholarships to help. There has been very good results from educating the less-well-offs. This group also has the connectivity difficulty after graduation. One would say, "it's up to the individual to shine." Very true and maybe graduating requirements should include learning to shine. This, and in conjunction with all of society's biases.
Some also started the student loan program (in order to add extreme insult to injury). And then they wonder why there are so many defaults. Let's just say "student loans for the poor and not well connected sucks!"
It has helped the well connected and a few extraordinary ones. But again, it is not efficient.
Here are some suggestions. These may not be a cure all, but good logical next steps.
1. Either move all of what we refer to as vocational training into the mainstream of the higher learning educational system, or graduate ALL high schools students from grade fourteen instead of grade twelfth with an associate's degree. It has been said that not everyone is college material. But we do expect everyone to complete high school. So, use the additional two years to have some ready for a direct vocational career (and job placement), and others for college general classes or pre-requisites.
Today, you wouldn't think of a Bachelor's Degree program in plumbing, masonry, carpentry or HVAC (Heating, ventilating, air conditioning). These trades (careers) along with many others are great and lifelong, but society has downgraded them. They don't count as on par with other college degree selection for high school students. If there were specific COLLEGE LEVEL program options that lead directly into placement opportunities, the results would be far reaching. High school students would not have to feel like they didn't or couldn't make college, so they settled for less.
2. Sociaty should insist that institutions of higher learning be required to place their graduates in jobs after graduation, for a minimum of 5 or 10 years or your money back, or something. Extraordinary students may opt out of such placement program. Institutions of higher learning must be responsible for:
(a) for studying their jobs market and trends,
(b) the relevancy of their degree program (what they teach) in any given sociaty,
(C) for the 'whole person' they give their degree to
(d) for placement up to five to ten years. Placement means that there is a demand for your graduating class even before they walk out the door. Institutions of higher learning MUST be held to a higher standard by being responsible for EVERY GRADUATE they put out in EVERY DEGREE PROGRAM.
This might also mean that the educational system would be responsible for all things that make a good worker and a good citizen, not just the trade or specialty. A need for standards and excellence.
3. A system of acceptance into any given institution of higher learning MUST be fair, transparent and proportional to and reflect its surroundings, and
4. Every institution of higher learning MUST develop and cultivate a strong relationship with area high schools and feeder programs to ensure that students are prepared and in demand. High schools will then become a more meaningful part of this process.
An individual worth demands these changes. A society's economic future will insist that these are some of the many ways to improve. But most of all, the relevance of every person, no matter their background, becomes clear. Remember no child left behind? It might also help with the race and class divide.
Jobs should look for people, not people looking for jobs.
An order of importance!