Thursday, July 5, 2012

Future of University Education here

I WhatsApp my daughter to encourage her to read this article when she gets back this evening.

A few pages the worries mentioned in this article is displayed in another story.

We had watched on TV the dismal employment situation for graduates in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. We had also read the same in China.

In this story almost all the top scorers of Gao Kao tracked over many years did not appear in business or key leadership positions.

Larry Summers once (he wasn't alone) remarked that the A students come back as professors but the C students fund Harvard university.

A couple of days ago I produced a NaviMap. Here is a small segment of that.

It used to be if you had a college degree you were set for life. Ken Robinson tells a good story around this. Not any more.

Our local universities are public universities. In order to identify the creme de la creme among its students, they have set up elite Scholars' programs and coveted departments. This has now evolved further with the new Yale-NUS college.

The competition for a place in a top college is relentless and becoming more intense. Just study the reinforcing loop. Such is the outcome when the ladder of success is too visible and alternative paths too risky. The society that can break this cycle and add useful diversity will have an edge over others (NaviMap not shown here)

It is a farsighted government which refused to turn out graduates like elsewhere into high status joblessness. By definition the elite will always be a tiny group but it is imperative that all who make university must have acquired a valuable education that leads to interesting jobs or business opportunities. It would be best if the alternative paths to success forged by highly educated non-elites produced out of this reinforcing loop would create an alternative elite for all our long term sake. Every society needs to regenerate itself. Birth, death and rebirth should not be prevented or avoided. I am glad some of the top O levels students chose to go to the Polys instead of a path leading to a university education.

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