The big mismatch in education

Date:           5 July 15
By:               Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
                    2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON L7R 2B5, 905 634 9538
For:             The Producers, The 180
Re:              Education – Prof. Kelly Foley – noon today – Radio 1
Good day.
Prof Foley has missed, as all commentators do, the main point when discussing the (apparently small) effect of education upon income and inequality.
That main point is the use of an undifferentiated entity called “a University education”.  This leads directly to the problem of mismatch among science/engineering “university educations”,
arts “university educations”, and the needs of the society and economy.  The blindingly obvious mistake of assigning an arts “university graduate” instead of an engineering “university graduate” to design a bridge is too often overlooked.
Compound this with the facts that:
* there is no natural mechanism guaranteeing that the economy will need exactly the number of arts or engineering/science students that graduate;
* insufficient attention is paid by the education establishment to the natural aptitudes of its students;
* some school systems teach science in proportion to science teachers available rather than to some analyzed need;
– and you have an indeterminate melange guaranteeing endless apples-and-oranges comparisons leading us nowhere, which is where most such commentators arrive.
Some higher education establishments, mostly community colleges like Mohawk in Hamilton, conscientiously attack this problem by surveying employers for their needs and counselling students accordingly; too few do, particularly at the high-school level.
Some parents (like mine) are far sighted enough to send their kids to some human engineering laboratory to learn their aptitudes and their non-aptitudes; but again, too few do.
Hopefully some brilliant young student one day will earn a PhD by tackling this mismatch problem.  More useful questions might include the likes of:  What does a civil engineering “university graduate” doing civil engineering work earn vs. what a dramatic arts “university graduate” doing dramatic arts earn?

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