Sunday, January 27, 2008

Education -- Purchasing versus Earning

When someone buys something, they are happy with their purchase if they actually buy what they think they are buying. If reality does not match expectations, the consumer is naturally unhappy with their purchase.

What is it university students think they are purchasing when they to go a university? What do the universities think they are selling?

Purchasing versus Earning -- the university merges the two, which is creating confusion as students increasingly think they are purchasing a degree rather than purchasing the chance to gain knowledge that will earn them a degree. The university thinks the students are purchasing access to knowledge so they may earn a degree. One earns a degree by proving one has gained the knowledge one has purchased.

Students think companies want people with degrees. Companies need to make t clear that they want people who have the knowledge the degree says they have and not just a degree. Indeed, they are trying to send that very signal because, as more degrees are given to people who do not have the knowledge, more advanced degrees are becoming required by companies.

Therefore we need stronger, not weaker, collaboration and communication between business and academia so that business can more clearly communicate that they want people with knowledge, not just degrees -- that they want people with a full university education.
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