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College may no longer be necessary, high quality K-12 education is

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Even though psychologists have been talking about a lack of correlation between college degrees, course grades, and job performance for decades, most companies continue to rely on these credentials and marks to make hiring decisions.

In the past couple of years, however, a few companies have broken rank. Google, a Fortune 500 technology firm, and Ernst and Young U.K., part of one of the world’s largest accounting firms, have publicly announced they no longer require college degrees for employment.

Google’s chairman said the company is more interested in an applicant’s skills, ability to think in a logical way, work ethic, breadth of experience, public speaking abilities, and creativity. Ernst and Young said they are interested in talented individuals regardless of background.

This transformation is due, in large part, to free access of information through the Internet. Over five years ago Bill Gates, a founder of Microsoft, suggested that traditional university education, especially at fixed-place institutions will no longer be necessary, since most of the content will be available online for free.

The college experience is under additional pressure, because college costs are rising at a rate higher than inflation and a college degree no longer guarantees a solid middle-class income. In fact, the College Risk Report (collegeriskreport.com) suggests that the rate of return on most four-year college degrees is worse than 2-year degrees and in some instances worse than no degree at all.

There is a small group of students who receive full ride scholarships to attend college. For these students, the costs are so low that the four-year degree makes financial sense.

Some people assert that college is an excellent place to make contacts. This may be a valid claim for students who are outgoing and takes advantage of all the clubs, speakers, professors, and research opportunities available at a school, but is probably not the case for most students who meet few people outside their dorms and classes.

Without a traditional college education, strong K-12 schooling is imperative since this will be where kids learn basic skills, hone public speaking abilities, refine creative thinking, and develop logical problem solving capabilities. Work ethic can be developed at school, home or in extra-curricular activities like sports. Breadth of experience can occur at school or through outside clubs and activities.

This new employment paradigm suggests we need to worry more about high quality K-12 education and less about college.

Want a job in tech? Learn another language

Tech World – Dee Murphy

“When I ask the question ‘what’s the golden ticket to getting a job here’ to any of the major tech giants – the answer is universal. Being multilingual is the key. Partly for obvious reasons – but also because multilingual candidates bring a lot more to the table than fluency in languages. Let’s dissect the obvious reason first. Currently two thirds of the world’s population speak two or more languages; this represents over 3.5 billion people.”(more)

The business case for encouraging students to pursue a STEM education

The Globe and Mail – Eric Craven

“Canada’s economic future depends on having as many workers as possible who can think critically, make decisions and solve problems. It’s how our economy – and our country – will remain competitive, whatever the rest of the world throws at us. And it’s why leaders of just about every type of business in Canada need to encourage today’s youth to embrace a science, technology, engineering or mathematics education, even if they aren’t planning to go into a STEM career. Clearly, a STEM degree is a prerequisite for many jobs, including computer programming, medicine, engineering (of all kinds) and environmental science. But such an education also opens the door to many other employment possibilities, with more than two-thirds of Canada’s top jobs – from health care to skilled trades – requiring some level of STEM knowledge.”(more)

Panel: Bilingual education critical to future of the workforce

Education Dive – Autumn A. Arnett

“In the old days, we taught language in this country as an academic pursuit, and there was no thought that students would” have to use the language, said American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Executive Director Martha Abbott. But this is no longer the case. NAE’s Hsi-Ling Liao said it is not only a growing global focus in business that necessitates bilingual education to adequately support the workforce, but the reality that the increasing diversity in the country means there is a greater need for customer-facing positions domestically that serve individuals in multiple languages.”(more)

It’s time we educated children for the future, rather than limiting them to subjects of the past

The Telegraph – Peter Tait

“Whether we like it or not, artificial intelligence, algorithms, advances in genetic engineering, nanotechnology and biology are already shaping our world at a pace we can scarcely comprehend. Rather than adding another ‘subject’, we should be looking at the whole purpose of education and asking whether our current systems are still fit for purpose. For generations now we have viewed children as either tabula rasa, blank slates waiting to be filled with knowledge, or, as those who adhere to innatism maintain, minds brimming with knowledge from day one. Both philosophies fed into the assembly line pedagogy, funneling talent into the narrow and restricted neck of an hourglass, to prepare them for world of work and leisure. What is increasingly evident, however, is that this approach is inadequate, even for those leaving school in the next decade.”(more)

Personality factors are best defense against losing your job to a robot

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Worried robots will take your job? Researchers say people who are more intelligent and who showed an interest in the arts and sciences during high school are less likely to fall victim to automation. Later educational attainment mattered, but researchers said the findings highlight the importance of personality traits, intelligence and vocational interests in determining how well people fare in a changing labor market. The work was published this week in the European Journal of Personality.”(more)