Author Topic: Should courses be chosen mainly to provide better employability?  (Read 5565 times)

Joe Carillo

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Should courses be chosen mainly to provide better employability?
« on: December 17, 2010, 09:09:11 PM »
The government’s support to education should be in the form of funds given directly to students, with the students allowed to choose which courses they want to “invest” those funds in. Under this proposed education reform, a key selling point of a course is “that it provides improved employability,” and students will be asked to pay higher charges for a course only “if there is a proven path to higher earnings.” The anticipated result is that courses of study that “deliver improved employability will prosper,” while those that don’t “will disappear.”

This, in essence, is the major thrust of the Browne report, “Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education,” for the young men and women of England today. “Our proposals put students at the heart of the system,” the report says. “(They) are based on giving students the ability to make an informed choice of where and what to study...Students are best placed to make the judgment about what they want to get from participating in higher education.”

But in “The Value of Higher Education Made Literal,” an essay that appeared in the December 13, 2010 issue of The New York Times, Florida International University humanities and law professor Stanley Fish casts doubts on this proposed approach to higher education. “It hardly need be said that under this scheme the arts and the humanities (and most of the social sciences) will be the losers: the model of rational economic (as opposed to educational) choice does not encourage investment in medieval allegory or modern poetry or Greek history.”

Under the logic of the Browne report, Fish argues, “Higher education is no longer conceived of as a public good — as a good the effects of which permeate society — but is rather a private benefit, and as such it should be supported by those who enjoy the benefit.”

Fish concludes: “One must admit that this view of value and the good life has a definite appeal. It will resonate with many not only in England but here in the United States. And to the extent it does, the privatization of higher education will advance apace and the days when a working-class Brit or (in my case) an immigrant’s son can wander into the groves of academe and emerge a political theorist or a Miltonist will recede into history and legend.”

Read Stanley Fish’s “The Value of Higher Education Made Literal” in The New York Times now!

Stanley Fish is a professor of humanities and law at Florida International University, in Miami, and this semester is Floersheimer Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Cardozo School of Law. He has also taught at the University of California at Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, Duke University and the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is the author of 13 books, most recently Save the World On Your Own Time.

In “What Works in the Classroom? Ask the Students,” an article he wrote for the December 10, 2010 issue of The New York Times, Sam Dillon reports on the preliminary results of a two-year, $45-million research project designed to find new ways of distinguishing good teachers from bad. Financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the project involves scores of social scientists and some 3,000 teachers and their students in seven cities in the United States. According to a progress report on the study, Dillon writes, “Teachers whose students described them as skillful at maintaining classroom order, at focusing their instruction and at helping their charges learn from their mistakes are often the same teachers whose students learn the most in the course of a year, as measured by gains on standardized test scores.”

Read Sam Dillon’s “What Works in the Classroom? Ask the Students” in The New York Times now!
« Last Edit: December 18, 2010, 01:47:50 AM by Joe Carillo »

Eduardo (Jay) Olaguer

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Re: Should courses be chosen mainly to provide better employability?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2011, 09:04:16 PM »
You can have a two-tiered system where one tier subsidizes the student directly and the other subsidizes a small number of quality institutions where only the best can teach and study. That way you don't have a lot of unskilled college graduates running around. There is also the public research library which, if properly subsidized (including workshops taught by professionals and open to the general public), can accomplish what liberal arts colleges aspire to do. That's exactly how I became a published author on theological matters even though I was formally educated as a scientist.