27 April 2009

Are graduate programs relevant and worthwhile?


End the University as We Know It


>>GRADUATE education is the Detroit of higher learning. Most graduate programs in American universities produce a product for which there is no market (candidates for teaching positions that do not exist) and develop skills for which there is diminishing demand (research in subfields within subfields and publication in journals read by no one other than a few like-minded colleagues), all at a rapidly rising cost (sometimes well over $100,000 in student loans).<<

Comment: It's true of university education here in Japan too, right down to the undergraduate, four-year university level. Although I'm uncertain about their delivery of courses, it's still the case that university faculty in Japan are largely set up as if their main task was to train the future generation of university faculty. If this expands to a larger pool, it would be a future generation of public and private school teachers and civil servants. This hardly reflects a forward-looking plan for a country in demographic stagnation and decline run by governments elected on 'less government, more free market liberalization' platforms.

In short, Japan's HE is locked into an approach that seems to ignore the serious intellectual and vocational develpment of nearly 100 percent of the students who pass through for 4-8 years of their life. I hope that is medical school notwithstanding.

As for the irrelevance (and huge expense) of US graduate education, read the rest of the NYT opinion piece here:


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