College is just too expensive nowadays!

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by JTE83, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    Yes, but they are not always considered a step down. We have trade professions that allow one to live very well and begin working 6-7 years before a university graduate - for example, essentially all accountants in Italy are only trained in a trade school 'ragioneria' and they often become CEOs and CFOs. Same goes for what you could consider an 'engineering' trade school - 'geometra' - they are allowed to approve building designs up to a certain size/complexity (so, for example, most home designs and construction supervision are approved by a geometra and not an architect/engineer). The same for elementary school teachers.

    This gives people a large advantage - they are able to enter the white collar marketplace without the heavy financial investment of university, thereby making it easier for their parents.

    This is slowly declining as the Italian educational system goes down the tubes and with the gradually increasing importance and prestige of securing a university degree...
     


  2. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    My view is that a university degree is never a guarantee that someone can actually do the job which is required.
    There is a perception that everyone needs to have a degree/diploma/certificate in order to get a job and to do that job well.

    Experience shows me that this in't the case.

    I've noticed the decline in young peoples ability to do the job.
    One company I do some work with, hire only graduates.
    These people are employed in "financial" roles with this particular company.

    All of these people have got a degree and have been "trained" by KPMG.
    Do you think that the could perform the simplest of tasks?
    Not a chance.
    Invariably, they are unable to add a list of numbers correctly, their use of grammar/syntax in written communication is poor, and their ability to comprehend and understand business processes is either too vague or inaccurate.
    How they managed to get a degree is beyond me.
    And as for possessing common sense - they don't (by and large).
     
  3. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    Come on Lim, maybe you are being a bit hard on them... sounds like something I used to hear my dad say about all the young hires in his office...

    In my line of work I am quite impressed by the qualifications and 'go get'em' attitude of a lot of the younger hires.

    There are, of course, a fair share of duds, but probably no more or no less than any other generation (am I being too optimistic?).
     
  4. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    I wish I was joking............but I'm not.

    These guys are qualified chartered accountants ; in most cases these guys would have been recruited after they graduated from university, by KPMG or PWC and they then train with KPMG/PWC while doing their professional (chartered accountants) exams.
    Then, when they pass their exams, they're let loose in industry.

    The excuse I most often hear from them is "I never knew that........I trained in wealth management (or some other specialised dept) at KPMG".
    That doesn't absolve them from not knowing how to add a list of figures, or write an accurate/concise report.

    maybe I am being harsh..........but in my day, we had to be able to do the basics proficiently.
    This generation (22 - 27 year olds), many of them can't do the basics (for whatever reason).


    Rant over!
     
  5. rule62

    rule62 New Member

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    ::: shakes fist :::

    "Damn kids!"
     
  6. Pendejo

    Pendejo Member

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    I left college teaching in the early 80s primarily because the vast majority of the students were barely literate and didn't seem to have the slightest interest in changing that. At least here in the states, I would say that nowadays a college education is about equivalent to what a high school education was about forty years ago.

    As evidence of this (as if any were needed), a few years ago the company responsible for the SATs (Scholastic Aptitude Tests), which most colleges require of applicants, decided to "recenter" their scoring. In other words, over the years the average scores had declined so much that the statistical distribution was being compressed. So they made their scoring easier so that the distribution looks normal and healthy again.

    In fact, I was forced to do the same sort of thing in my own classes. If I graded on what I honestly thought was a college standard, at least half of my students would have gotten D's or worse, most of the rest C's, and a smattering of B's and maybe a couple of A's. But then your teaching would become suspect, and you'd never get tenure. So I bit the bullet and "recentered" my own standards, which is the same thing that most every other college teacher is forced to do. Anyway, the bullet tasted awful and after a few years I decided that if I was going to martyr myself to some worthless employment I might as well get paid well. Bye bye academia.
     
  7. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Timely reminder of how it was "much tougher in my day"...........................Monty Python sketch

    Eric Idle: Who would have thought, thirty years ago, we'd all be sitting here drinking Chateau de Chaselet, eh?
    All: Aye, aye.
    Michael Palin: Them days we were glad to have the price of a cup of tea.
    Graham Chapman: Right! A cup of cold tea!
    Michael Palin: Right!
    Eric Idle: Without milk or sugar!
    Terry Jones: Or tea!
    Michael Palin: In a cracked cup and all.

    Eric Idle: Oh, we never used to have a cup! We used to have to drink out of a rolled-up newspaper!
    Graham Chapman: The best we could manage was to suck on a piece of damp cloth.
    Terry Jones: But you know, we were happy in those days, although we were poor.
    Michael Palin: Because we were poor!
    Terry Jones: Right!

    Michael Palin: My old dad used to say to me: "Money doesn't bring you happiness, son!"
    Eric Idle: He was right!
    Michael Palin: Right!
    Eric Idle: I was happier then and I had nothing! We used to live in this tiny old tumbled-down house with great big holes in
    the roof.
    Graham Chapman: House! You were lucky to live in a house! We used to live in one room, all twentysix of us, no furniture,
    half the floor was missing, we were all huddled together in one corner for fear of falling.
    Terry Jones: You were lucky to have a room! We used to have to live in the corridor!
    Michael Palin: Oh, we used to dream of living in a corridor! Would have been a palace to us! We used to live in an old
    watertank on a rubbish tip. We'd all woke up every morning by having a load of rotten fish dumped all over us! House, huh!

    Eric Idle: Well, when I say a house, it was just a hole in the ground, covered by a sheet of tarpaulin, but it was a house to us!
    Graham Chapman: We were evicted from our hole in the ground. We had to go and live in a lake!
    Terry Jones: You were lucky to have a lake! There were 150 of us living in a shoebox in the middle of the road!
    Michael Palin: A cardboard box?
    Terry Jones: Aye!
    Michael Palin: You were lucky! We lived for three months in a rolled-up newspaper in a septic tank! We used to have to go
    up every morning, at six o'clock and clean the newspaper, go to work down the mill, fourteen hours a day, week in, week out,
    for six pence a week, and when we got home, our dad would slash us to sleep with his belt!

    Graham Chapman: Luxury! We used to have to get up out of the lake at three o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a
    handful of hot grubble, work twenty hours a day at mill, for two pence a month, come home, and dad would beat us around
    the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!
    Terry Jones: Well, of course, we had it tough! We used to have to get up out of the shoebox in the middle of the night, and
    lick the road clean with our tongues! We had to eat half a handful of freezing cold grubble, work twenty-four hours a day at
    mill for four pence every six years, and when we got home, our dad would slice us in two with a breadknife!

    Eric Idle: Right! I had to get up in the morning, at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold
    poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill and pay millowner for permission to come to work, and when we got home,
    our dad would kill us and dance about on our graves, singing Hallelujah!
     
  8. buckybux

    buckybux New Member

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    This thread is very interesting. I teach at the local college (4yr), and can be considered a "professor," but I don't have a PhD, only an MBA. I have only been teaching 4 years, but have 30+ years of work experience, so I position myself as a business man who teaches.

    Here in the US, I call the traditional students today Gen Y. The class I teach (Marketing) is much more advanced than the Marketing class I took 35 years ago. I expect the students to do cases written in a concise format, learn the basic concepts on thier own, as I focus lectures on application and critical thinking. Conclusion, after taking my class the students are much more advanced in basic business concepts and marketing, then when I took the class.

    I think that part of the problem is that the older generations expect the young people to have knowledge based on the older standards. For example, the local newspaper ran an article stating that less than 35% of the college graduates could reconcile a check book. This is a perfect example of the "old" standard, as todays student no longer has the need for this activity, and if they do reconcilation, they will use a computer program and not do it by hand. If we judged the older people on the standards that Gen Y has, the older people would certainly also score poorly. Thus the evaluation result is a function of the years separation between the evaluator and the evaluatee.

    I consider today's student to be much more advanced in writing skills, critical thinking, application and world knowledge than 35 years ago. While I get my new information from the newpaper, Gen Y gets thier information from the internet. Gen Y has become much more savy about evaluating the quality and accuracy of the information than the older people. Gen Y is also much more technology savy than older people.

    So....my question is: Are the basics what older people consider to be important? or are they really necessary to function effectively in the job. Why manually add a list of numbers when Excel is both faster and more accurate?
     
  9. TheDarkLord

    TheDarkLord New Member

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    When I did my schooling, my parents kept telling me about how the syllabus had gotten more advanced compared to when they did their schooling. That said, my undergrad professors tell me that the syllabus keeps getting watered down each year.

    In any profession, the tools used to do the tasks evolve with time. There are some education standards that grill down the underlying concept at the expense of not teaching the tools properly, while other education systems do it the other way around. I personally would prefer the first approach since the tools are easier to learn to use compared to learning the underlying concept.
     
  10. Pendejo

    Pendejo Member

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    I don't think literacy is era-dependent. Obviously there are always going to be smart kids out there, but I maintain that the average college grad in the U.S. is barely literate. I would suggest an experiment: have your marketing students write a business letter, in class, about some sort of proposed business venture, and see how many of them you would be willing to send out to clients.

    Your defense of college grads not being able to reconcile a checking account is telling. The reason they cannot do this task comes down to two possibilities. Either their basic math skills are faulty (even using a calculator), or they don't understand the concept of check reconciliation. Is either defensible in a college grad?

    Finally, I don't think being "Internet savvy," a badge pinned so proudly on the younger generations, is worth a bag of manure when it comes to being educated. First of all, I've taken individuals who had never touched a computer before and made them Internet savvy in a couple of hours. Second, all the Internet does is provide an additional and very convenient source for data and information (and much of it is misinformation). Somebody who knows how to find books in a library using the Dewey Decimal System is not necessarily well-read or educated. Neither is someone who knows how to Google.

    Moreover, information is just raw material. It's next to useless without the intelligence, logic, and critical thinking skills necessary to make something useful out of it.

    You also claim that today's younger folks have more "world knowledge" than older generations. Are you kidding? Please check this out:
    http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/05/02/geog.test/index.html
     
  11. gemship

    gemship New Member

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    hey how about the decline of manufacturing here in America. I'm a cnc machinist, its a trade. Won't make a fortune but depending on what it is you produce,shape from raw stock. I say raw stock as a all inclusive term to metals, plastics, wood. Anyway the new modern machine shop depends highly on technology furthering advances in expensive tooling yet combines the old school machining principles. Kids don't care for it. What it takes to make money is repetitive to some extent. despite all that theres so many aspects of the trade to get educated. Certainly the business end but one has to have at least basic math skills. Blueprint reading/interpretation, some mechanical aptitude,definitely computer savy as there is a whole world of programming software. Custom tool grinding is a art in itself. There really is a lot to this trade but it isn't the glitz and glam for todays kids :rolleyes:

    It's too bad to see that even the most skilled of manufacturing here in the US may be a dying breed. Oh I think there will always be a machine shop but just not the big industry it is today in the US.
     
  12. Crankyfeet

    Crankyfeet New Member

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    There seems to be some interesting trends and paradoxes going on. I think Pendejo's anecdotal experience teaching at a university is interesting and encapsulates a major problem with the current education system IMO. That is... teachers are being evaluated on the grades of their students. So they can better their job performance by teaching better... or making it easier to get good grades. Unfortunately it is probably easier to do the latter... especially when the students aren't willing to make a commitment to learn.

    Another trend nowadays is that college education is much more common and sort after than say 40 years ago. Whereas before in a roomful of people... maybe one in five (guessing) had a college degree.... nowadays it's more likely to be the majority of people. Women fifty years ago were expected to leave school after year 10 and become secretaries. I don't think the genetic aptitude of people has changed in 40 years... so with more people needing to get through a degree course... the bar almost can't help being lowered... and the average quality of graduate diluted... to account for all the people now wanting a degree accreditation that once before may have been happy going to work straight out of high school.

    When I was at school... one of my friends did medicine BECAUSE he got the highest grade possible on his tertiary entrance score (like the SAT in the US). He hadn't even taken biology at high school. I remember him telling me that his dad (who was a research scientist) had said that in the fifties... the smart math guys became scientists. Then in the late sixties and seventies it was engineering. When I left school... a lot were going into medicine (the ones with the best grades at least). Now... there might be a lot who are becoming derivatives and risk experts in investment banks... because that's where the dollars are.

    Manufacturing jobs aren't the only occupation that is being outsourced these days. Technology jobs suffer competition from countries like India especially... Technology careers are attractive to a smart introvert, who can become technically proficient by learning independently from a "book"... and producing a skill/knowledge that is tangible. And it has a structured future. Business management is more vague... and possibly one is hindered by cultural differences and not being in the "network". Whilst everyone seems to lament the loss of emphasis of technology/science/engineering careers in the west... western business managers are considered streets above the quality, on average, of managers in developing, and even second world countries. The cultures in a lot of these countries don't encourage independent thought. An expat uni lecturer I met in Asia couldn't believe how immature the Asian college students were in their unwillingness to have a dialogue with the lecturer. No one ever asked a question.

    Whilst the quality of math and science in America seems to be declining... American students are doing much more homework than 30 years ago (I read this somewhere). Algebra is a requirement for everyone to pass high school. I think this is ridiculous as algebra is not a necessity for everyone to get by in life IMHO.

    School students today are under more stress it seems to perform with grades and get into the best college possible.
     
  13. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Good points. The drive to get a degree that gets them out of school and into a job quickly is obvious on college campuses here. Equally obvious is that there's a not insignificant number of students who just can't be bothered with being challenged in school. Likewise, it seems only a minority of students is actually studying what they like or what interests them, while a majority are just cruising through a "degree process."

    I wasn't implying that engineering, science, and math are in any way the most worthy or important fields but rather that the lack of people graduating with degrees in those fields is sympotmatic of something wrong with education in general...and that's a whole different thread.

    Like you, I consider education to be absolutely essential. As I indicated, education certainly isn't considered essential or worthy of funding here, in the US. Essential doesn't mean "necessary for getting a job." Instead education is essential because it's the knowledge and skills that come from education that drive innovation, progress, and solutions to any number of issues. For example, the lack of education in sociology and history is writ large across our president's vacuous head, as he blunders his way around the world, completely ignorant of different cultures and values.
     
  14. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I'm with Limerickman on the idea of a college degree not being an absolute necessity. What is a necessity is a worthwhile education in whatever it is you do.

    As for the distribution of duds in the graduates, you might be right. The Law of Large Numbers would say that distribution does and has always followed a Normal distribution. With the increased number of folks "at college" the number of duds coming out compared to the past has to be larger.

    The sense of entitlement, though, in recent grads seems to be pretty damned high.
     
  15. TheDarkLord

    TheDarkLord New Member

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  16. Crankyfeet

    Crankyfeet New Member

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  17. Crankyfeet

    Crankyfeet New Member

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    The distribution doesn't have to have the same parameters. College attendees, as a non-random sample, have higher mean IQ's and SAT scores than the general population. If only the top 20% of students went to college 40 years ago... the mean aptitude of that distribution would probably be higher than that of college attendees today where, say, the top 60% are going to college (these percentages are assumptions to illustrate a point).
     
  18. 9.8mps2

    9.8mps2 New Member

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    Yeah man, what's next ? Assuming all pro cyclists dope ?
     
  19. Crankyfeet

    Crankyfeet New Member

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    No... more like... assumimg all doping apologists are Armstrong worshippers.
     
  20. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Very interesting view.

    Speaking of the movement of manufacturing jobs to other economies, you did highlight another issue.
    The loss of manufacturing skills.
    For example, un yesterdays newspaper, the economics editor went to Paris fashion week to look at haute couture.
    Haute couture - the industry of making one off dresses/clothes for people - has suffered zero impact from the credit crunch.
    The economics editor of this paper wanted to see why/how this could be, given that haute couture goods costs thousands to make.
    The companies representing the haute couture industry said that their industry is based on two things.
    Exclustivity is one factor.
    But the other factor is the craftsmanship in making the product.
    People will pay huge money for a product that is well made.
    The companies said that the retention of these skills were paramount.

    The same thinking needs to be applied more widely in society.
    If societies lose the ability and knowhow to produce then there is a serious problem.
    More importantly, if societies lose the ability to understand/think - and this is where education plays a crucial role - then that is an even more serious issue.
    (this last issue is a bit of a hobbyhorse for me - I contend that "the powers that be" want to remove our ability to think critically).
     
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