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John Chuckman



‘…despite having gained much better qualifications…”

Aye, there’s the rub.

It is only superficially true that they have better qualifications.

What has really happened is that Britain followed the American approach to education along many lines, producing a value-eating inflation into much of higher education.

Among other things, this means that you can get a degree now in almost anything you care to name – film, sports, television, women’s studies, black studies, even circus (yes, in the United States) – subjects many of which offer no prospect of a profession or serious career and amount to little more than hobby interests.

Well, I’m not speaking against hobby interests, just saying that anyone who associates them with rigorous education is seriously misguided, and just so anyone who gains credentials in a hobby and expects to rise in the world.

Many of these courses of study are not academically challenging, so kids graduate without much effort. They also gain entrance far more easily since standards of acceptance are lowered. This last becomes even more serious when the public schools feeding the universities and colleges gradually reduce their standards by giving easy grades, inflating the grades of everyone applying. In most American high schools, for example, you cannot fail if you try.

The universities and colleges move away from rigorous academics and in a sense treat their swollen student populations as piggy banks to break open. Even at the graduate level, the impact of all this is felt. Once accepted, you will graduate, short of never handing in assignments.

It’s all a great game for a while – more university jobs, more public schools with “improved” records of success, more students at university – but we all know what happens when you inflate anything, such as money, enough – it simply loses value. While it takes a while to see the results, in the end the results will become clear, as in this study.

The system has the added negative, especially in the United States, of leaving young adults with huge student loans to pay with low or non-existent job prospects. And, remember, in the real world of making things and making a living, genuine talent or exceptional ability count perhaps more than ever. Also, for such talented people moving from one to another country is encouraged by governments and corporations, so apparent prospects are even more reduced for others.

Now, add to all that an economy which is in in serious trouble and one where machines keep replacing people, and I think it is fair to say our senior educators have been “out to lunch.”

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