The Higher Education Crisis – Too Much Education?
Will Gu believes that we are falling into a trap of too much education. As a student studying Computation and Systems Biology at UCLA, Will sees too many of his fellow classmates looking to go straight into graduate school and he has some strong feelings about it. Here’s his thoughts:
Education is a necessity. More so than ever, the young adults of this generation are being pressured to work and attain more in their K-12 and college schooling. With more and more students enrolling in college immediately following high school and increases in 1st time enrollment in graduate school, this generation is headed towards a higher education catastrophe.
The goal is clear in today’s generation; obtain the highest possible degree. While this trend seems harmless on the surface, there are some important implications to this. While education is fundamental for improving your career options, too much education can be a detriment. The world is becoming globalized and thus there is a high degree of competition for jobs everywhere. It is becoming necessary to compete with more than just the people around you for jobs, as international competition becomes more common. This practical problem for people (lack of security in jobs) spawns a natural solution: become more highly qualified. A rise in graduate school is going to continue post 2014 with The U.S. Department of Labor forecasting that there will be a 22% rise in jobs needing masters degree and a 20% rise in jobs needing a doctorate degree from 2010-2020. The question is when the spiral ends. Globalization certainly will not end, meaning the competition for jobs will only rise. Soon, graduate school will be considered the norm, rather than the exception.
This can lead to a lot of problems, namely a spiral of never-ending education. With more education, there is also more time for a person to decide their career choice, and yet, with too much time, a person may never have to decide their major. Take for example that now 25-50% of students are entering college undeclared and 50-70% students change their major at least once. There is a marked ambivalence with this generation, and with more education and more majors being created, this ambivalence can only get worse.
The future is clearly paved in education, but if that road never ends then it can be concerning. While education is a staple to a well-rounded person, a lifetime of education is simply delaying the real work of life and getting a job. By staying indefinitely in the education system we are taught to rely on others to tell us what to learn and how to compete for grades. We are becoming institutionalized and forgetting how to think for ourselves. Education is essential, but at what point does too much education hinder our ability to contribute to society as a member of the workforce?