Knowledge is not enough

In the developing world, education standards have been rising for decades.  More and more of the population go to university and the number of degrees, and even higher degrees, rises relentlessly.

Yet, still employers maintain – as they always have done – that they cannot get employees with the right skills.

Note the word ‘skills’.  Employers don’t want more knowledge – that is easy to provide via Google – but skills are both expensive to provide -and take a long time to develop.

This means that the ‘education’ system must become more of an ‘education and skills’ system and skills must receive parity of esteem with knowledge.

In the UK, the proposed ‘T levels’ might help – but past initiatives have failed to change the ‘esteem’ with which skills are held. Teachers are knowledge-based – the wrong people to guide kids through a skills-based curriculum.  Changing this will take perhaps a couple of generations, helped by kids’ increasing reluctance to take on the massive loans to fund university attendance.

But, of course, employers must play their part – by reducing their reliance on the degree as a ‘first sift’ of job applicants -and recognising skills where they exist.

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