Monday, December 22, 2008

A "Real Degree"

by Andrew Gillen

There was a sentence in Implementing the Bologna process, the VoxEu paper that I highlighted in the previous post that caught my eye.
...the belief, among academics and parents, that the master's level is the “real degree”... [may help] explain the apparent reluctance of graduates to enter the labour market after concluding their first cycle of studies.

I know that this is a huge issue for higher ed in the US as well. While I think that here the bachelors degree, as opposed to the masters, is still considered "real" enough, too many students go to college or get an MBA or go to law school because they think that doing so will result in a "real degree" that will automatically translate into happiness and wealth.

You end up with students building up mountains of debt, like the students in these stories, or with a degree that is not as highly valued as they were led to believe, as illustrated in this Fedex commercial about MBA graduates, or working at jobs they don't like, such as the lawyer in this story:
Reality, she quickly learned, was different. Ms. Kersh recalled a two-week stretch in which she and a team of associates were holed up in a conference room with 50 boxes of documents. Every day, for 12 hours, they fastened Post-it notes to legal briefs.

“You look around at the other associates, trying to remind ourselves, why did we go to law school?”...

Many young associates, she added, spent their lunch hours making lavish purchases on, just to remind themselves that what they did counted for something.

1 comment:

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