Teaching Kids How to Tie Their Shoes

Soon, my child… You We will undergo this grueling test.

(From my favourite parenting website, howtobeadad.com)

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What I’ve learnt about smart people

(Image source)

Gasp! Harvard kid discovered the secret of smart people!

…I have noticed one overarching theme among smart people: they ask questions. When someone explains something new to me, I’ll usually just nod my head like I know what they’re talking about. If I don’t understand something, I’ll just Google it later. After all, I don’t want this person to think I’m a moron. Smart people are different. If they don’t understand something, or even if they think they understand something, they’ll ask questions.

But I’m pretty sure that nodding along thing happens especially in customarily patriarchal, feudalistic Asia. Source? My own non-extensive personal experience, where I notice that Caucasians are more likely to ask tough questions than Asians.

Good reminder.

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Source: Tommy’s Tenacious Tumblr

End of the University…

…As we know it.

So goes the title of this NY Times op-ed.

Except:

Most graduate programs in American universities produce a product for which there is no market (candidates for teaching positions that do not exist) and develop skills for which there is diminishing demand (research in subfields within subfields and publication in journals read by no one other than a few like-minded colleagues), all at a rapidly rising cost (sometimes well over $100,000 in student loans).

Of course, the article focuses its argument more to the system within the university itself, such as the manipulation of graduate students (“simply cheaper” than full-time professors), the sheer number of faculties and division (“research and publication become more and more about less and less”), and lack of training (“most graduate students will never hold the kind of job for which they are being trained”).

The last bit, especially, sounds like what I mentioned about here, that the relevance of certain faculties/specialization are questionable when the students move on to the “working life”.

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Related post:

Manipulation by the Education System

Manipulation by the Education System

Watching some late-night TV the other day, I can’t help but to notice the number of private education providers right here in Singapore. Their ads promise good education, and some even guaranteeing jobs upon completion.

But why does one need to go through such institutions in order to “succeed”? “Success” here, as in any other countries today, may be defined as having a good career, stable finances, and materialistic sense of security in the forms of a house, bi-annual vacations, and personal transportation.

Educational instutions, be it private or public, are designed best for students who are interested to pursue technical expertise. Such as those who are interested to be taught in engineering or marine biology or even law or medicine, who needs to undergo the systematic training to be capable of handling work-related problems once they are released to the working arena.

Yet, there also those who spent years in university studying engineering for example, and end up working as an “executive” which doesn’t require the training which he went through. What about those who took up social science or political science and end up working as “financial advisors” (aka selling insurance products)?

The examples are plentiful, and I’m sure that you know at least one person that job doesn’t fit the years he spent taking that diploma or degree.

Now with another university opening up in Singapore soon, there will be even more graduates who will be flooding the market for jobs. It doesn’t help that roughly 15,000 graduates are jobless in this country. With the abundance of paper qualifications, more will be forced to “accommodate” by taking up positions which doesn’t reflect the skill that they were once trained with.

Yet simply, the propagators are busy blowing their horns telling such workers to upgrade their skills so that they will have the “necessary skill-set” to cope with the “changing economic landscape”. In other words, they got to go for training so that they can find some form of employment, and not end up jobless.

On the worker’s level, it makes sense;  after getting that degree/diploma, get more training so that even if you get fired, the additional training will get you a job elsewhere. But on a national scale, it shows the job market is an ever-morphing bottleneck that provides no solid platform for the graduates to establish themselves.

So what is the relevance of that 20-30k spent in that tertiary institution? Chances are, after obtaining that degree/diploma, they still need to undergo training to be relevant in the job market.

Wouldn’t it be better to bypass all that time+money if you’re gonna end up working as an “executive” in the end? Why not start working just when you’re 18 for example? By the time you’re 25, you’ll be an seasoned executive with 7 years’ training and experience. Others your age are just fresh graduates.

Granted, not everyone knows what they’re gonna be when they grow up, but unless if you’re really passionate about a course, then 20k seems to be a lot to fork out to find out your mettle. It also doesn’t help that employers are culturally-ingrained to regard paper qualification as a judge of character and acumen.

So what are universities for? If not for training technical professionals, they are mostly business entities which provide 3-year educational courses. If you are looking for a job, then you need to find a job-training provider.

manipulate-the-system

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Related post:

End of the University…