It has been one of the biggest debates for awhile. Is certification a good alternative to a University education? And can it indeed be just as worthy and valued? A few Harvard scholars of education believe that alternative education to University could be the path to prosperity.Outlined in their booklet ‘Path to Prosperity’ is the undoubting fact that with so many young people going to University, the University education system has been somewhat devalued compared to prior decades. With so many young people swarming about on campus, it has also meant that the education system has had to adapt to numbers, which has meant for most graduates a massive skills gap between them and an employed individual. This for many has meant that they have been unable to find work or have settled for minimum wage white-collar posts.Besides these problems, the Harvard scholars bring up the matter that simply University education does not suit everyone, nor can it serve all in the long term. We can then see from this opinion that a more varied education system is needed with training that fits to everyone’s needs, including academic and practical training.Although we do have vocational training in the UK, it is still rather limited and has been cut since the recession. In the US, vocational training does not currently exist, but the Harvard scholars are suggesting the vocational approach which was adopted by Europe originally. If America is to expand vocational training, enabling many young people to get appropriate posts, it may be time for us in Europe to think about how we can improve and expand our vocational education system, so that more young people can get the skills necessary to start in employment.It would offer many benefits, including a more fitting and practical education for many, where they can learn skills that can help them compete on the competitive job market. Although it would mean a decrease in University applicants, it would lower the number of young people in debt who simply cannot afford to pay their debt off. It would also open up different and more varied routes to jobs, proving perhaps an education that is more wholesome.Providing a more varied education could help solve ‘skill gap’ issues, but nevertheless there is still the issue of rising unemployment, particularly between the ages of 16-25. It will not solve the problems of the recession, but it could help many young people gain employment as well as fill up that skills gap in the future.
As thousands of prospective students embark on a three year career of higher education, much has been written about the lack of suitable jobs currently available for graduates, and the amount of debt students enrolling now will incur by the time they have finished their studies.As research published by push.co.uk shows, students starting degree courses this year will be likely finish with the biggest graduate debts we have known – with the average amount being around 23,000 per person. The research and other pressures have since caused the UK government to set aside £5 billion to help students who find themselves during financial troubles during their studies.However, further data published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is helping clarify the actual financial worth of university degrees – across a number of countries – by calculating the return on investment by weighing up education costs and foregone earnings with earnings made in the future.The research found that across all OECD countries (including the UK, US, Japan and France), an average male student who has obtained a university degree will benefit from more than $186,000 more over his lifetime compared to that if he had left education after high/secondary school. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the average for women is slightly lower – a statistic that is affected by the lacking equality between earnings for women and men. Yet, the earnings still average £134,000 more for a female student with a university degree.However, aside from the projected financial worth for individuals, the report also highlights the benefits to the economy per person who is put through higher education – with the average male earning $52,000 over his lifetime.The OECD report is no doubt positive at a time when many students are fearing the financial impact of further education. Yet, the research also does well to highlight the importance of distance learning and how it will have a significant impact on global higher education. Graduation rates across all OECD countries have increased by 20 percent, whilst – surprisingly – the UK has ‘levelled off’ to a 2 percent increase over the last seven years, whilst the US sees more people leaving education before university.Of course, both of these countries that have seen a dramatic influx of students entering higher education due to the recession and are subsequently seeing a saturation of facilities. Could we soon see the developing countries (Ireland, Poland and Portugal have seen an increase of 7 percent between 1998 and 2006) helping where the UK and US can’t accommodate?
Finding scholarships and resources can be a time consuming task. But it’s worth it! Scholarships and grants can help alleviate college expenses. The cost of a higher education can be daunting for some students; however it should never prevent a student from getting an education.Many adult students, military personnel, parents and their high school students are trying to figure out how they’ll afford college expenses. Before resorting to student loans, students should seriously research scholarships and grants opportunities. There are thousands of scholarships and awards out there for all ages and levels of education. Let the research begin!Internet ResearchOne way to find scholarships and grants is to perform some online research. Most of the online scholarship search engines will require you to register for the site. In some cases, during the registration process the sites will ask you many questions and this may take time. This is done to filter the scholarships that will be specific to you. So fill out the information completely and in detail. There are numerous scholarship search engines out there, but be aware: if a site asks you to pay a fee, it may be a scam.Some of the top free scholarship search engine sites are fastweb.com and scholarships.com. Scholarships listed on these sites serve the general population of students by helping them find grants based on a wide variety of factors such as personal interests, abilities, hobbies, activities and involvement in various organizations and, yes, also military involvement. Sites that cater specifically to military are military.com, moaa.org/education, and finaid.org/military/.High School Counselors/CollegesIf you don’t know where to start, you can always get help from a high school guidance counselor or financial aid advisor at the college the student plans to attend. For high school students, guidance offices will have a list of scholarships either on a bulletin board or even on the school’s website. Additionally, if you need help applying for scholarships many guidance counselors will help you put together the information you need such as a resume or essay. Making an appointment with your guidance counselors to discuss financial aid can never hurt.Need more help? Make an appointment with a financial aid advisor at the college you plan to attend. Financial aid is their job; they will be able to answer most of your questions and can be a great resource for finding scholarships. Be sure to ask if the college you are attending has any in-house scholarships for which you may be eligible.CommunityMany public libraries will compile a list of scholarships available in your region and have librarians willing to help you with the search. Also, local organizations often support students by offering scholarships and awards. It is a good idea to check with your employer, a parent’s employer, or other organizations you have experience with. If you volunteer with an organization, be sure to check with them, too. When you are talking to organizations, it is good to have a resume on hand, along with a clear outline of your educational goals!Some career college state associations offer scholarships. A list of state associations can be found HERE.Finally, don’t forget the Imagine America Scholarship and Award programs for students attending participating career colleges!Imagine America for graduating high school seniors. Military Award Program (MAP) for military personnel. Adult Skills Education Program (ASEP) for adult students age 19 and above.Find more information about the Imagine America Foundation visit scholarships for education.
I have researched education in the Philippines, a nation where participation in all levels of education has been high for generations. Despite this high enrolment in education, the Philippines has been characterised by low economic development associated with low levels of social change, especially in the area of social mobility.One aspect of my research was to identify whether there were aspects of the education system, itself, that led to these results. I focussed on the private nature of most Philippine education, an aspect which became more important during the last quarter of the twentieth century when, as a result of structural adjustment programmes, there was a shortage of public investment in education. In the Philippines, therefore, there is effectively a market in education.What I concluded was that the Philippine elite competes from within its own ranks for access to the high value end of this market, thus excluding poorer Filipinos from participation in that part of the sector which appears to offer educational quality. The intra-elite competition has effectively become the education system’s function and focus, so access to quality education is denied to the vast majority of the population. My findings also suggested that the continued use of market forces in education accentuates and exacerbates this effect, thus further precluding social mobility.The Philippines is thus a country where it matters where you were educated, where there is an identifiable queue of graduates of education, with the elite associated with particular institutions and geographical areas.The British appear to be proud of the “high standards” set by the elite sector of their education system, hence we can still have a debate about the potential of grammar schools to promote social mobility, despite the fact that if implemented they would exclude three quarters of the population. In addition, it is clear that access to quality education at all levels in Britain is determined by a market in house prices, a market in which where the elite sector competes within its own ranks for access to quality, thus driving the market. It is not exactly the same as the privatised Philippine education system, but it would appear to work the same way. Today’s finding on social mobility cannot therefore be surprising.