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maidu

University And College Education Over-Rated

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Maybe it's not so important where you are, but in the States, even a Bachelor's degree will find you very little work. If you want a real job, the Master's degree is what really opens doors, unless you want to work construction, McDonald's, or some other dead end job.

Before the economy went bust in the US, I knew some construction workers making $90,000 a year. A few still are, but many are out of work right now, I am not sure if I would call construction a dead end job or even remotely compare it to McDonald's.

I am sure plenty of people who work for McDonalds earn more than $90,000 a year (though not the guys/girls who make the Big Macs)

Neither construction or McDonalds are dead end job - it is possible for hard-working guys/girls to earn a decent living either way if they use some common sense to rise above (in terms of career seniority) the labourers and burger-flippers

I assume Ivan's (implicit) point was that it is much easier to climb the career ladder (towards senior management positions) in the US, if you have a masters degree (especially an MBA I would add)

A masters degree (but not MBA) is also important in certain continental European countries (e.g. France and Germany) but in the UK you can easily reach senior managerial positions with just a bachelors (ideally from a "red-brick" university or better still Oxbridge*)

* please note this statement should not be considered as an advert for a Cambridge education (the flaws of which should be obvious)

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I spent a lot of time hiring people--almost entirely for the teaching field. The success rate correlates directly with the education. In the past year, we had no teacher with a B.Ed. who was dismissed or for whom there was criticism of their work. We had a small number of Bachelor's degree holders, but not in Education, who received a somewhat critical review of their performance, but none faced a non-renewal of contract. In general, this last group knew the subject material very well, but the techniques of teaching were deficient.

Of those that had no University level education, about 40% had to be discharged or faced non-renewal of the contract. They simply did not have the ability to face any of the challenges that fell out of the ordinary. They lacked adaptability and some simply didn't have the basic knowledge of the subject material to effectively teach.

The last group all 'just loved teaching' and they 'just loved the children', but the administration was no good, the homeroom teachers were no good etc. Everything was the problem except them.

Interesting. Thanks for sharing that.

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University offers many things. Like the rest of life, some of it is invaluable and some of it is worthless.

My experience with people whinging on about this sort of hing is that they never saw the value of an education. Now they are stuck in a situation where other people put a value on it and they find that they are limited.

People in this day and age that do not have a degree or a really highly specialized skill shows an undisciplined person.

From my experience seems like it takes people without a university degree many, many years to catch up in real life upper education delivers hopefully before you are 30.

Getting through school was a financial struggle for me but I graduated from a great school. I had some very dark hours and worked some really crap jobs to graduate with almost no debt. Took me many years as well.

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Scott: Education degree might be respected here in Thailand for purposes of teaching, but it is thought of as a piece of paper for teaching children in the US. In fact, teaching HS requires single subject + credential. It is perhaps the easiest degree in a college/university next to Communications to obtain. It lacks so many components of the Liberal Arts and Maths/Sciences.

Techniques deficient - maybe you needed to provide them a bit of training?

I am always freaked out when I read this sort of thing. I mean, what do you want for 225B an hour?

--------------------------------

Koratpat - this is the whole trouble with the US since the 70s. It's somehow about MONEY. Somehow it is better to be making 120K being a prostitute, 90K digging ditches or picking up trash than it is to make 50K teaching or 60K programming. The thinking seeps into all sorts of dark areas of want vs need and as the cornerstone of US problems today.

Edited by bangkokburning

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The reason for obtaining a degree in part is so that you are not deficient.

I am always amused at the idea that if suddenly people were paid more, then they would become better teachers. They would not. The pool of non-deficient applicants might increase, but the deficient ones would not suddenly spring into action.

Training is essential in most occupations and some is provided, but the basic truth for many people is they need to get themselves qualified first.

There are numerous ways of dealing with the situation of unqualified people, some are the responsibility of the person him/herself, some are the responsibility of the administration. Using unqualified teachers, for example, will require that curriculum development, classroom management, lesson planning and some other responsibility be taken over by others.

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I quite frequently see Uni students carrying around and reading textbooks in public- on trains, even. People cramming for exams, reading at coffee shops, studying with tutors. Going on around me all the time, all the time.

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An intensely strong trope of anti education festers across UK society. It contrasts with the intense celebration of it in Japan. The non-University educated simply don't know that they don't know. Thai education is a failure in teaching the epistemological issues. So it could be learnt out of a book.

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An intensely strong trope of anti education festers across UK society. It contrasts with the intense celebration of it in Japan. The non-University educated simply don't know that they don't know. Thai education is a failure in teaching the epistemological issues. So it could be learnt out of a book.

"The non-University educated simply don't know that they don't know."

Very true. Many of the non-college people think of college as though it is prison. They don't understand that it opens up your mind to so many different ideas and philosophies.

Ignorance is bliss, I guess. For those who continue their education, kudos. For those who do not, I'm sure it is quite easy to criticize something that you have never officially ensconced yourself in.

As a teacher, I have students who grumble and whine about taking notes (very basic notes, such as ten vocabulary words, ten literary terms, or notes related to themes, motifs, or symbolism). Will these people make it in a University, where the notes are constantly being written as a professor delivers their lecture? I don't know, but I certainly doubt it.

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University offers many things. Like the rest of life, some of it is invaluable and some of it is worthless. My experience with people whinging on about this sort of hing is that they never saw the value of an education. Now they are stuck in a situation where other people put a value on it and they find that they are limited.

People in this day and age that do not have a degree or a really highly specialized skill shows an undisciplined person. From my experience seems like it takes people without a university degree many, many years to catch up in real life upper education delivers hopefully before you are 30.

Getting through school was a financial struggle for me but I graduated from a great school. I had some very dark hours and worked some really crap jobs to graduate with almost no debt. Took me many years as well.

It sounds like you're seeing 'education for the sake of education' through a glass onion of your own personal experience. If you see a diploma as a ticket to a better career, than I can agree to that, because people who hire tend to limit themselves to people with degrees. What I'm saying is: a person can be as good an employee, without a degree.

If you're trying to convince me that your personal challenges getting through college were somehow greater (needed greater concentration and/or sacrifices) than another person's challenges in their endeavors outside the hallowed halls of a U, then save your calories.

There are innumerable stories which contradict the fabled 'education makes for better workforce' argument. Just one, in a nutshell; a good friend of mine had a Harvard education and fancy diploma. Yet, he was one of the most unreasonable people, and arguably the quickest to anger, I've known.

I quite frequently see Uni students carrying around and reading textbooks in public- on trains, even. People cramming for exams, reading at coffee shops, studying with tutors. Going on around me all the time, all the time.

In Thailand? I don't see that. The rare times I see a Thai reading anything is perhaps a man reading a newspaper or a kid flipping through a comic booklet. In contrast, I see farang often reading newspapers, magazines and books.

Maybe there are many more educational places where you reside, though here there are 2 large U's, and about 25 colleges within about a 35 square mile region.

Edited by maidu

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"The non-University educated simply don't know that they don't know."

Very true. Many of the non-college people think of college as though it is prison. They don't understand that it opens up your mind to so many different ideas and philosophies.

Ignorance is bliss, I guess. For those who continue their education, kudos. For those who do not, I'm sure it is quite easy to criticize something that you have never officially ensconced yourself in.

It's like combat vets who tell eveyone else, "you can't comment on war, because you've never experienced it first hand." I resent that sort of argument. I can comment on all sorts of topics which I don't happen to have 1st hand experience at. You do it also, if you make a comment about Antarctica, Space travel, deep sea mining, paedophilia, or any of thousands of topics you've probably never experienced first hand.

Back on topic: I don't think of Universities and colleges as prisons. I see them largely as giant sucking machines - sucking up government grants and parents' money. In large part to perpetuate the myth that a diploma is essential - to get ahead in this world. Tell that to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, neither of whom had a diploma.

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I don’t want to talk grammar. I want to talk like a lady.

--Liza Doolittle, Pygmalion

True, it's hard to explain the value of education to those who don't have much.

Of course it's possible to educate oneself, narrowly, but few will do so, and certainly not in subjects in which they have no interest or financial incentive. And that has some negative consequences.

Understandably, given the probabilities, employers are reluctant to put someone lacking formal qualifications into a position where qualified people are known to be more likely to succeed. Me, I got no problem with that. It's THEIR money after all.

Definitely the likely financial payoff of a university education in a particular subject should be calculated in advance, esp. when a student loan is contemplated. Costs can be held to a minimum via online education or community colleges. Now, one can learn a skilled trade in as little as a year and thereafter pursue higher education for business or pleasure.

I'm reminded of a true story a prof once told me. He was from a lowly background in a rural backwater, and it happened that one of the local farmers actually did have a degree in Philosophy from Oxford. Of course the locals asked him incredulously why he had studied for that degree. His reply: "I wanted to have something to think about while I'm farming."

But this one of those recurring and rather silly, pointless threads arguing that a dustman is as good as a Duke, a plumber knows as much as a Ph.D. They're started mostly by non-degreed wanke_rs who want to live in Thailand but lack an independent income despite their innate brilliance and encyclopedic knowledge acquired by the most diligent self-education aquired in a variety of pubs. And here they're complaining they can't get a job teaching English, or more likely, Brummie or Geordie, for B30K a month.

Bill Gates is inevitably cited; Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot (the patron saint of the whole idea), never. wink.png

Wonder why T. S. Eliot's leaving Harvard before completing his PhD is never mentioned? Hmmmm.

Nevertheless, I just can't understand why the OP, expounding on such an extraordinarily weighty topic as the uselessness of a university education, hasn't bothered to address and refute the points raised by John Henry Newman in The Idea Of A University. Odd, for a well self-educated person. May want to refresh your memory:

http://www.newmanrea...org/works/idea/

And then why haven't Matthew Arnold's assertions in Literature And Science, and in Culture And Anarchy, been roundly discredited here?

http://homes.chass.u...~ian/arnold.htm

http://www.readbooko...et/title/12136/

SURELY the OP has studied them previously and extensively reviewed these classic works as preparation for this thread with such far-reaching social implications? Yet they haven't even been cited?

So far we've only had some anecdotal observations and blanket assertions, not even stats.

Ironically, the OP's very method of argument underlines the case for formal education.

Edited by JSixpack

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University is not for everyone. It is not the pinnacle of life. There are some occupations that are best served by a degree. When I take my car in for repairs, the mechanic attended a vocational school. He's great. I don't need an Engineer, I need someone who is 'qualified' and a vocational school is the best qualified for that job.

By the way, do you know the first thing a person with a degree in Philosophy says after he graduates?......"Would you like fries with that burger".

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I don’t want to talk grammar. I want to talk like a lady.

--Liza Doolittle, Pygmalion

True, it's hard to explain the value of education to those who don't have much.

Of course it's possible to educate oneself, narrowly, but few will do so, and certainly not in subjects in which they have no interest or financial incentive. And that has some negative consequences.

Understandably, given the probabilities, employers are reluctant to put someone lacking formal qualifications into a position where qualified people are known to be more likely to succeed. Me, I got no problem with that. It's THEIR money after all.

Definitely the likely financial payoff of a university education in a particular subject should be calculated in advance, esp. when a student loan is contemplated. Costs can be held to a minimum via online education or community colleges. Now, one can learn a skilled trade in as little as a year and thereafter pursue higher education for business or pleasure.

I'm reminded of a true story a prof once told me. He was from a lowly background in a rural backwater, and it happened that one of the local farmers actually did have a degree in Philosophy from Oxford. Of course the locals asked him incredulously why he had studied for that degree. His reply: "I wanted to have something to think about while I'm farming."

But this one of those recurring and rather silly, pointless threads arguing that a dustman is as good as a Duke, a plumber knows as much as a Ph.D. They're started mostly by non-degreed wanke_rs who want to live in Thailand but lack an independent income despite their innate brilliance and encyclopedic knowledge acquired by the most diligent self-education aquired in a variety of pubs. And here they're complaining they can't get a job teaching English, or more likely, Brummie or Geordie, for B30K a month.

Bill Gates is inevitably cited; Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot (the patron saint of the whole idea), never. wink.png

Wonder why T. S. Eliot's leaving Harvard before completing his PhD is never mentioned? Hmmmm.

Nevertheless, I just can't understand why the OP, expounding on such an extraordinarily weighty topic as the uselessness of a university education, hasn't bothered to address and refute the points raised by John Henry Newman in The Idea Of A University. Odd, for a well self-educated person. May want to refresh your memory:

http://www.newmanrea...org/works/idea/

And then why haven't Matthew Arnold's assertions in Literature And Science, and in Culture And Anarchy, been roundly discredited here?

http://homes.chass.u...~ian/arnold.htm

http://www.readbooko...et/title/12136/

SURELY the OP has studied them previously and extensively reviewed these classic works as preparation for this thread with such far-reaching social implications? Yet they haven't even been cited?

So far we've only had some anecdotal observations and blanket assertions, not even stats.

Ironically, the OP's very method of argument underlines the case for formal education.

No, I haven't read all the books you've read, and you haven't read all the books I've read. Are you trying to trump me with intellectual acuity? If so, you can win that round. I've read a few dozen hyper-intellectual books - yet most go through me like beer through a barfly.

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HAH Scott - spoken like a true cheapskate former teacher cum mercenary admin. Since you appear to be clueless as to what is around you, I will spell out how it occurs.

The "teacher" is required to produce all sorts of nonsense paperwork here in Thailand - Thai teaching already the lowest wages in Asia. So, highest requirements, lowest pay. OK, the "teacher" wants to be in Thailand.

S/he takes a job at B275 an hour because the market is flooded with monkeys and backpackers - and let's face it, teaching conversational English is not teaching. It is non academic no matter how much you like to puff yourself up - plus in the private sector, it is driven by bodies in seats. You can be a great teacher, but if you are not drawing students - you are out. Pretty/Handsome is far more in demand than academic.

But I digress, the person ramps up, jumps through all the hoops, gets the miserable visa (if the school did not scam him), gets the ridiculous TEFL degree which even Japan does not require, buys his SUIT and fancy shoes. Pays for his visa runs, transport, photocopies, etc....add those costs to the bottom line.

NOTE: This is no small amount of money and could easily approach 100K baht in some circumstances. That is before setting up a flat, computers, even a ticket over and all the visas needed prior to actually getting this low wage stinker of a job.

Now he has teachers hours and prep time, so cut that pay in half. B140 an hour incl Saturdays. In the publics, you have benefits cutbacks now, so even a poorer value to teach. Why important? Because each week the poor teacher is informed how his CURRENT package is going to be reduced. So, you sign for this and in reality you get that, that is the teaching mugs game.

My hunch is that the people you are whining about would like nothing better than to break even and get out of the racket that you support. Fed by fresh faced grads from overseas working for TEFL Cert + B150 an hour.

I just met two over Songkran. Working upcountry, fresh faced and full of energy. Know they got screwed on their TEFL + Contract package - but hey...

When you are old, you do not take getting screwed lightly Scott. That is yet another reason employers like you prefer fresh meat.

You indeed get what you pay for. If you are hired to do X for Y hours and then asked for A, B, C, D that is just bullshit. Let us make no mistake, this game is long and old. The punter is set up and that is the plan. To lay out the basic position then ask (demand) more (and more) from the teacher and then get your panties in a bunch when it is realized they are working for free.

In Thailand you cannot simply walk away from these jobs as your visa is tied to them, so you get people in indecision, waiting contracts out or even years if they can until - whatever. That is human nature.

I find it utterly laughable at how demanding that teaching conversational English has become. The degree is understandable - but for B150 an hour, the requirements a joke of a "job". And that is on the School's side. We have not even discussed the BS out of the government. Did I read something about a mandatory cultural course that also comes out of ones pocket? It is to laugh Scott.

"Blaming everyone but themselves" - part of this may be valid, but I am absolutely certain there is PLENTY of blame to spread 'round.

We both know exactly why you are in Admin and not teaching Scott. A poor craftsman blames his tools and you sir are blaming your tools.

Edited by bangkokburning

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First of all, I DO teach and I have Administrative responsibilities. Second, I have NEVER seen anyone suddenly jump from being a slackard to being good with an increase in salary. That includes jobs outside of teaching.

The pool of recruits for teaching positions include a fair number of people who are not well equipped for teaching. If the salary were commensurate with the expectations and a respectable wage, then the pool of qualified teachers would increase.

Foreigners generally have very little to do with the Administration of a Thai school. Salary is set by the Thai administrators. If you think I agree with how they run schools, treat employees and pay people, you are seriously mistaken. If you think I begrudge people who move on to better schools and positions, you are mistaken. When exceptionally good teachers move on to greener pastures, they do so with my blessing and with a positive recommendation.

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