Can skills take over higher education?

Since the last year, universities and colleges have been under constant scrutiny in every part of the world. In the United States (US) itself, ever since Donald Trump took over the presidential charge, higher education has been one of the most controversial topics in the country. Educationists, pundits, influencers, and philosophers across the country have had their shares in these debates.

The hottest piece of debate is that higher education is no longer as effective as it was earlier. Besides, it has put students in tremendous amounts of debt. On the other hand, professional certification courses and vocational training cost much less and provide results with an instant impact. 

And the fact is that it is correct but only to some extent. Vocational skill-based courses do provide a better return on investments (ROI). It is needed in the market too and a lot of people follow that. They always have been and in the 21st century, they continue to do so. But is it right to replace a 3 or 4-year curriculum with a short 60-hour vocational course?

Absolutely not. There is simply no short cut for this. It is impossible to build up a personality and train yourself to work with people with a vocational course. In the case of higher education, you get to work with people from various parts of the world with different ideas, enhance your learning, evaluation and develop your resilience. These are some skills that we don’t appreciate that higher education provides us.

Higher education helps the economy in the long run

When we start to shorten the course length and cut out the personality development aspect by hiding under ‘boosting the economy’ tag, we will end up hurting the economy in the long run.

Students are misled, especially from the BAME categories in terms of ROI. Cornithian Collegs Inc. is one great example of that.

Attending a full long term course widens your vision. You see new ideas, develop and discuss new theories with like-minded people. You spend time assessing and solving assignments, brainstorming through different challenges and learn how to do things. Undergraduate research projects, internships, community-based projects are just a few more positives of pursuing higher education

In the 21st century, we are seeing new developments every single day. With technology being the center of all these changes, you need to constantly learn and adjust yourself. Doing a vocational course will definitely help, but only in the short run. 

There is no denying that higher education needs a lot of improvement and especially the cost of it. It is not possible for everyone to afford it. The government institutions should look into that. But it would be wrong to undermine the importance of a higher education degree when compared to vocational skill-based programs.