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Academic Inflation and New Education Paradigms

The "new media" must be getting to me. The chain of events leading to this blog post has been triggered by a great (IMHO) video I came across on the YouTube - "Changing Education Paradigms" by Sir Ken Robinson:

But this video only increased my appetite for information on the subjects that I have been thinking and talking to my friends about for quite some time - depreciation of the value of academic degrees and what should the education system of the future look like (I think it is pretty clear that major overhaul of the existing system is desirable). So, I went on to investigate Ken Robinson's point of view further by getting his book - "Out of our Minds: Learning to be Creative". And while I have not yet had much time to spend on it (a more complete review will be a subject for a different post), whatever little I have read confirmed some of my worries. Here are a few excerpts:

There was a time when good academic qualifications guaranteed a job, but not any more. One reason is academic inflation. In the next 30 years, more people worldwide will be gaining academic qualifications than since the beginning of history. But as more people get them, their currency value is falling sharply. A university degree used to be an open sesame to a professional position. The minimum requirement for some jobs is now a Master’s degree, even a PhD.
The labor markets of the 21st century are changing beyond all recognition.
A major reason for this vast waste of ability in education is academicism: the preoccupation with developing certain sorts of academic ability to the exclusion of others, and its confusion with general intelligence.
The problem is that present expansion is based on a fundamental misconception : the confusion of academic ability with intelligence.

While this seems quite troubling and the consequences could be very disruptive to many of us, I am sure we will adapt. More to follow.


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