The Disadvantages of Being Educated
A sharp fall in the number of university applicants wanting to study such "non-vocational" subjects as history, philosophy, classics and fine art was "no bad thing", Bill Rammell, the higher education minister, said yesterday....
"There is some evidence that students are choosing subjects they believe will be more vocationally beneficial to them," said Mr Rammell, who read French and politics at University College, Cardiff.
"If that's what they are doing, I don't see it as necessarily a bad thing."
Pity he didn't study plumbing and go off and do a useful job instead of bing a nuLabour minister. But he has a point, there is far too much "education", and the stigma attached to training an d apprenticeships compared to educating is harmful and wrong.
As Albert Jay Nock put it a long time ago when talking about American Education in the 1930s.
In his essay "The Nature of Education," Nock explained, "When you want chemists, mechanics, engineers, bond-salesmen, lawyers, bankers and so on, you train them; training, in short, is for a vocational purpose. Education contemplates another kind of product..." (The Book of Journeyman).
Nock's did not mean to denigrate those who should be trained, rather than educated. He wrote, "Education, property applied to suitable material, produces something in a way of an Emerson; while training, properly applied to suitable material, produces something in the way of an Edison" (Memoirs). Thus, to Nock, science was a matter of training and many of the world's most eminent men were not educated, but trained. He wrote, "Training is excellent, and it can not be too well done, and opportunity for it can not be too cheap and abundant... (Free Speech and Plain Language).
The main problem with the American educational system was that, in attempting to educate everyone equally, it encountered Gresham's law and ended up educating no one adequately. Instead, it provided only training, even to those who were educable. Under the current system, he believed that "the study of history, like other formative studies, does not even rise to the dignity of being a waste of time. What with the political, economic and theological capital that has to be made of it...it is a positive detriment to mind and spirit" (The Book of Journeyman). Indeed, "Following the strange American dogma that all persons are educable, and following the equally fantastic popular esti- mate place upon mere numbers, our whole educational system has watered down its requirements to something precious near the moron standard. The American curriculum in 'the liberal arts' is a combination of bargain-counter, grab-bag and Christmas-tree" .