A friend told me how he had applied for a job as a technician at a chemical plant, claiming diplomas that he did not have. When he got the job, he spent the weekend cramming with chemical textbooks, started work on Monday and quickly became an expert technician. After a number of months, he told his boss what he had done and the boss said, “You did the right thing.” This incident happened in Europe, but I’m sure the same thing happens here in North America.
What! Don’t credentials matter? Well, a recent news story out of Toronto indicates that credentials may not mean as much as we thought. I knew that there were people out there who would write essays for students, for a fee. One such person, who has an MBA, has even done entire online degree courses for some students. They give him their online password and he does everything for them. The student winds up with a degree without having learned anything. I’m not sure what the point is.
Kate Tennier, writing in the National Post a couple of years ago, made this observation:
“What the system promises is not an education, but a product — a graduation certificate or academic credential — which is then mistakenly taken as proof of actual education. Only when we remove the emphasis on this scholastic “exit token” will real and sustained learning occur.” *
About twenty years ago, I was taking a part-time French as a Second Language course at Concordia University in Montreal. Another student in the class was a young man with a university degree in archeology. When our teacher taught about direct objects and indirect objects, he could not grasp what she was talking about. English was his mother tongue, he had gone all the way through elementary school, secondary school and university and he still had no real comprehension of English grammar. Therefore he was unable to get very far in learning French and eventually dropped out.
My friend in the example cited at the beginning, lacked the credentials but was willing to apply himself to learning everything he needed to do the job he was hired for. That was more valuable to his employer than a piece of paper of doubtful value.
* Kate Tennier: Stop obsessing over credentials
Posted: November 19, 2009, 9:00 AM by NP Editor
Kate Tennier, No-Fault Schooling