The Education Bubble?

On 06/06/2010, in Formal Education, by Jordan Wilson

An interesting article from Glenn Reynolds on a potential bubble in higher education.

Mr. Reynolds is a law professor and runs the very informative blog, Instapundit.

As for his article, a few thoughts:

Education is an Investment

As I have written before (see here and here), education is an investment. Pure and simple.

Never forget that.

If you have a trust fund or expect a large inheritance, fine. Take Religious and Women’s Studies. Or other appealing, but not overly marketable, majors.

If you are paying for school yourself and/or relying on interest bearing student loans, I suggest you focus on different criteria. Look for fields that you enjoy, but also where you have a strong probability of landing employment after graduation.

Further, a career that will earn enough so that the investment you made in your schooling was worth the cost.

Always evaluate education through a cost-benefit prism.

Employers want Skilled Staff

I agree with Mr. Reynolds that employers want staff who possess the proper skills to perform their tasks. That is more important than networking or the degree itself.

Take courses that enhance your skill sets and you will be in a better position to be hired.

Also, develop or improve career relevant skills outside the educational system. Extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, etc. can be used to enhance your expertise and value to a firm.

Education Delivery will become More Creative and Cost-Effective

I also agree that online education and new methods of teaching will become more prevalent in the near future.

I believe that smaller, boutique schools focussing on specific fields will become increasingly popular. As these schools grow in number, there will be increasing competition for students and prices will fall.

I also believe more firms will enter into relationships with educational institutes to train staff. I think that this is a win-win solution for both employers and employees.

In Europe, many companies hire high school graduates and train them in-house over time.

In Switzerland, internal training options at major Swiss banks are excellent. Banks explicitly tailor training for their requirements and ensure a consistent and high quality program.

In the USA, Walmart has entered into an educational arrangement with the American Public University. The agreement allows:

Walmart and Sam’s Club US associates to earn a college degree at an affordable price through a combination of academic credit awarded for Walmart job learning and experience, and online coursework through APU. APU will serve as Walmart’s education provider offering academic courses and degree programs to its associates.

Use Ms. Munna’s experience as a cautionary tale.

If you can learn from her, you might avoid ending up with $100,000 in debt and no career in your chosen field.

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