Skills Training VS Higher Education

On-The-Job Training and continuous skill sets Training and upskilling is important regardless how long you have been in the industry. The reason is simple.. Technology have and will always be advancing. Without continuous learning and the desire to catch up with the latest industry trends, you are bound to be left behind at some point of time. This is also the reason why successful industry leaders have and will never stop learning.

Today, let's take a look at a meaningful article on Why Skills Training Can’t Replace Higher Education.

"One of the dominant narratives in the media is that we need to produce more workers now who can do whatever is needed now, using short-term post-secondary certification programs. The focus is typically on “vocational” skills, contrasted with what too often are characterized as relatively useless liberal education outcomes. Of course, short-term vocational skills-based programs are critically important and well suited for many people. But this is not an acceptable policy choice for addressing the demands of the 21st century workplace and fixing the shortcomings of American higher education. Abbreviating post-secondary preparation programs may well reduce short-term costs for students, institutions, and many employers. However, privileging short-term job training over demanding educational experiences associated with high-levels of intellectual, personal, and social development — a foundation for continuous life-long learning — is a bad idea for individuals, for the long-term vitality of the economy, and for our democracy."

To make it easier for employers to identify competent workers, a litany of badges, certificates, and the like will purportedly signal proficiency. In some yet-to-be-demonstrated manner, these proxies will then be stacked and sewn together by a trusted entity to warrant conferral of what traditionally has been considered a college degree. Along the way, it’s assumed that learners of any age will independently bring coherence to and cultivate depth of understanding from these various experiences.

We’ve known for many decades that there are no short cuts to cultivating the habits of the mind and heart that, over time, enable people to deepen their learning, develop resilience, transfer information into action, and creatively juggle and evaluate competing ideas and approaches. These are the kinds of proficiencies and dispositions needed to discover alternative responses to challenges presented by the changing nature of today’s jobs or for work not yet invented. Workplaces, societal institutions, and the world order are only going to get more complicated and challenging to navigate and manage, increasing the need for people with accumulated wisdom, interpersonal and practical competence, and more than a splash of critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and altruism.

Intentionally shortening and fragmenting educational and personal development in the name of bolstering economic productivity now is shortsighted and does a catastrophic disservice to individuals, our national prosperity, and the long-term well-being of a civil, democratic society. What’s also troubling is the likelihood that learners from historically underserved groups — low income and ethnic minorities, for example — will be disproportionately represented among (or maybe even tracked into) short-term training programs. Students from these groups made up the majority of those who were duped by the misleading ROI promises of more than a few costly for-profit institutions, such as Corinthian Colleges, ITT Technical Institutes, and Education Corporation.

There is no way to know for sure, but I suspect that many of those vigorously proposing short term vocational education steer their own children toward baccalaureate-granting colleges or universities. Attending such schools increases the odds that students will have to broaden their perspectives, read and write a fair amount, and devote significant effort over an extended period of time pondering difficult questions and generating alternative solutions to complicated problems — the stuff of which the future will be made.



Cited, Harvard Business Review