Saturday, May 13, 2017

Declining by degrees

US professor "Paddington" writes: 

About 20 years ago, our political leaders finally became aware that the well-paid industrial jobs were becoming much more technical, and fewer in number. They looked at the famous statistic that college graduates earn more over a lifetime than non-college-graduates, confused correlation with causation, and pressured the education system to increase the number and percentage of graduates, and the quality of them.

The last is impossible, but it was quite easy to increase the number and percentage of graduates, simply by watering the coursework down.

However, there are disciplines where actual mastery matters, including Nursing and Engineering.

I contend that it is only a matter of time before we separate 'real' degrees from the others.

This leaves the question of how to designate the other degrees. Since B.S. is already taken, I would suggest B.E. (Bachelor's of Equality), B.F. (Bachelor's of Feelgood), or B.N.P. (Bachelor's of Nothing in Particular).


A K Haart said...

Something I noticed a few decades ago was a lack of scientific rigour in recent science graduates. The worst case I came across was a chemistry graduate who seemed to have absolutely no idea how chemical reactions are supposed to occur. Nice enough chap but no scientist.

Paddington said...

I was gong to add my piece from James Michener's 'Space' (a history of the early space program). When they found out that most of the engineers and scientists that came from Nazi Germany didn't technically have degrees (and so couldn't occupy the jobs that they had), the space program purchased mail order degrees for all of them.