How to separate education from degrees

One of my last posts here was about making education more integrated with the market. But there are some who want education to be pursued for its own sake. How could this be achieved? Simple we restrict the ability of employers to request educational information. Now this might seem contradictory if you read my last post about the hazards of information asymmetry. But this is a very different case because this isn’t about bearing risks its about a selection process. The actual hands on knowledge we receive from degrees is very little, most of their earning power is from the brand, and the selection process, less than 30% of the difference in salary between Ivy schooling and non Ivy schooling can be explained by the content.

The most immediate reaction of someone would be… how will the companies decide who to select? Especially for specialist roles such as doctors? Its very simple really, the companies will just incorporate more tests into their selection processes to ensure that people really know what they are talking about. Why this is favourable? Well social mobility is one answer. Anybody can just pick up a book learn all the content, then maybe watch a couple of videos on youtube on how stuff works and then go through the application process. The concept might seem frightening and its true that its very reliant on companies being able screen candidates in a much more integrated way, however this is not far fetched at all.

Degrees in this day and age don’t guarantee jobs anyway, and vast majority of people who actually only go to University because they want to get a job, which is understandable but it is perhaps unnecessary. Seeing that most of the content they will be learning is not applicable to their careers. The end result would probably that people who don’t want to learn just for the sake of learning but for work would structure their studies at their own pace to reach only in areas that are relevant to where they would want to work, probably through private tutors.

On the University side, sure they would get less students, either most Universities will shut down or classes will merely be smaller, either way the result will be that whoever is in University will be studious and passionate about the subject leading to a much more intellectual environment that will be less about achieving grades(since they won’t help you get a job), and more about achieving knowledge.


2 thoughts on “How to separate education from degrees

  1. Very interesting post. I can see the advantages of such a change happening. In the UK, for example, less funding for the universities would be required which would allow for that taxpayers money to be allocated somewhere else. It would also mean that there might be less government revenue. I say so because, the British students either take out loans or pay for the education themselves, which is due to go up. Also there is an increasingly high number of international students that pay premium prices. Wouldn’t the extinction of the common university hinder the economic state? I agree with your view nonetheless. I believe that it would be a more productive environment that could possibly lead to more papers being published as a result. This is so because many researchers are forced to take on the role of tutors, this inevitably takes up valuable research time. (not forced necessarily by the universities but by financial states) Perhaps, as an alternative, special environments for the sole purpose of pursuing knowledge could be implemented. A very stimulating post, I find this. I can also relate to the frustration that I feel due to the lack of interest that students show for their subjects. It’s a shame to be honest.

    • Yeah I mean if you think about the opportunity cost of being in University of 3 years its kind of wasted GDP since most people will never get to use the skills they have learned. Although I don’t know specifics about government revenue in this sector, I imagine that their are more fruitful ways to invest money than education, especially given this scenario. I don’t know if I buy that more paper’s be would published since less people would go to University so maybe less people would end up going for a PHD, though you do make a fair point about freeing up time.

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