It has been one of the biggest debates for awhile. Is certification a good alternative to a University education? And can it indeed be just as worthy and valued? A few Harvard scholars of education believe that alternative education to University could be the path to prosperity.
Outlined in their booklet ‘Path to Prosperity’ is the undoubting fact that with so many young people going to University, the University education system has been somewhat devalued compared to prior decades. With so many young people swarming about on campus, it has also meant that the education system has had to adapt to numbers, which has meant for most graduates a massive skills gap between them and an employed individual. This for many has meant that they have been unable to find work or have settled for minimum wage white-collar posts.
Besides these problems, the Harvard scholars bring up the matter that simply University education does not suit everyone, nor can it serve all in the long term. We can then see from this opinion that a more varied education system is needed with training that fits to everyone’s needs, including academic and practical training.
Although we do have vocational training in the UK, it is still rather limited and has been cut since the recession. In the US, vocational training does not currently exist, but the Harvard scholars are suggesting the vocational approach which was adopted by Europe originally. If America is to expand vocational training, enabling many young people to get appropriate posts, it may be time for us in Europe to think about how we can improve and expand our vocational education system, so that more young people can get the skills necessary to start in employment.
It would offer many benefits, including a more fitting and practical education for many, where they can learn skills that can help them compete on the competitive job market. Although it would mean a decrease in University applicants, it would lower the number of young people in debt who simply cannot afford to pay their debt off. It would also open up different and more varied routes to jobs, proving perhaps an education that is more wholesome.
Providing a more varied education could help solve ‘skill gap’ issues, but nevertheless there is still the issue of rising unemployment, particularly between the ages of 16-25. It will not solve the problems of the recession, but it could help many young people gain employment as well as fill up that skills gap in the future.