Titolo

Fassina, leggi Krugman

4 commenti (espandi tutti)

Questo è stato pubblicato su "Intelligent Life", una rivista del gruppo "The Economist". Non ho il link, cosí posto il testo integrale. Scusate se è lungo:

WHO NEEDS ALL THIS EDUCATION. ANYWAY?

 

 

The modern fashion is for piling degree upon degree; MA upon BA and PhD upon MBA. And it is not easy to argue against it. If education is a good thing, more education should be an even better thing. And academic wisdom maintains that, as economies become more sophisticated and knowledge more advanced, people will have to spend longer studying. Just as industrial countries introduced universal secondary education in the 20th century, so post-industrial economies will introduce universal higher education in the 21st - followed by universal PhDs.

It is doubly hard to argue for parsimony when the economy is in recession, giving all too many people a choice between further education and the dole queue, and when the person making the case has gorged on the fruits of higher education himself. But are we to wait for the good times to return before pointing out that higher degrees are not all they are cracked up to be? And is anybody better equipped to expose the credentials racket than one who has accumulated more than enough of them? Higher education is even more susceptible to the law of diminishing returns than most fields. Every extra year of higher education costs you more in terms of foregone income in return for less in terms of added value; indeed, once you embark on a PhD, you may well be reducing your value on anything but the academic labour market. William Pannapacker, a professor of English at Hope College, Michigan, says that, outside academia, "a doctorate in English that probably took you ten years is something you will need to hide like a prison term while you pay off $40,000 to $100,000 in bans" In 2008, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, over 10,500 Americans with PhDs or professional degrees were employed as "cashiers ", over 27,400 as shop assistants and over 4,700 as hairdressers, hairstylists or cosmetologists.

The obvious reason for this is that education becomes more specialised as you get more of it: you spend less time acquiring broad wisdom and transferable skills and more crawling along the frontier of knowledge with a magnifying glass. You may make a genuine contribution, and you can hold up your head among fellow experts. But you pay a heavy price. Your mental focus narrows, and you discover that you have spent your 20s as an overgrown schoolboy, or girl, rather than establishing yourself in a career. At worst you end up as a middle-aged dogsbody: one OECD study shows that, five years after receiving their degrees, more than 60% of PhDs in Slovakia and more than 45% in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany and Spain were still on temporary contracts,

A second reason is that education is a sifting device. The more people there are with a BA, the less the BA is worth and the more incentive there is to add some more letters. The result is an arms race: students spend years of their lives - and tens of thousands of dollars - simply neutralising each others qualifications. The true beneficiaries are the people who sell higher education.

A third reason is that the productivity of higher education declines as people spend longer in_į Academics devote their attention to graduate students rather than to humble undergraduates (who have to make do with teaching assistants, not all of whom are working in their first language). Students work at a more leisurely pace because they know that they will be able to make up for lost time when they take their second degrees. This institutionalised dithering helps to explain why, according to the American Enterprise Institute, the time spent studying by the average student at an American four-year college has declined from 24 hours a week in 1961 to 14 hours a week today.

The idea of diminishing returns may understate things: the returns on ever-higher education can actually be negative. Some of its leading advocates are professional schools that insist that, to get a head start in your career, you need a professional qualification. But the assumption underlying this - that the best way to learn a profession is to immerse yourself in theory - is nonsense. Professions don't rest on abstractions They rest on bodies of rapidly evolving practice that are best learned on the job. Doctors clearly have to master their anatomy and lawyers their torts before they are let loose on the public. But there comes a point when they learn more in the courtroom or the operating theatre than in lectures. That point comes a lot earlier in the worlds of business and public policy.

Some graduate schools even destroy value, because they are so far behind developments in the working world. Many consultancies have taken to teaching internal MBAs which they can do in a few weeks rather than the two years that business schools take. Many mainstream firms, shocked by the havoc wrought by fancy business-school ideas about credit default swaps, have taken to recruiting undergraduates rather than MBAs. In any dynamic profession you are far better off learning from the lions of the field than listening to the idle theories of egg-heads.

The inconvenient truth is that the fashion for ever-higher degrees has more to do with the interests of universities than of students. Even if dons are partly right to say that you cannot have too much of a good education, they are wrong to confuse education with credentials: some of the most educated people I know left formal education at the earliest opportunity and some of the greatest bores never left at all.

Professional schools are money-spinners for universities. PhD programmes are life-enhancers for professors: they give them acolytes to massage their egos and relieve them of undergraduate teaching while also doing much of their research for them. But they teach you less than you could have learned on the job and a PhD may leave you unemployable. There are far better things to do with your 20s than acquiring yet more letters after your name.- ADRIAN WOOLDRIDGE (dphil)

INTELLIGENT      LIFE

 

http://moreintelligentlife.com/page/contents-septemberoctober-2011

 

 

ottimo,.......ma che c'entra? leggendo quello che si diceva prima, credi che overeducation sia una spiegazione per l'accresciuta college premia?

Ma veramente l'articolo suggerisce che il college premium potrebbe ridursi, anche fino al punto da non rendere più conveniente, in termini economici e per il soggetto interessato, un'educazione superiore.

da noi se si pensa ai laureati del call center ciò è già avvenuto (e non è che il premium nell'industria sia notevole)

In ogni modo i top earners non sono i laureati o i qualificati ma altra cosa