India, and the Economic Folly of a College Degree
by John Tamny
by John Tamny: What
Parkinson's Law Says About Federal Spending
an equal proportion of people were educated at the public expence,
the competition would soon be so great, as to sink very much their
pecuniary reward. ~ Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, p. 151
headline blared from the front page of the Wall Street Journal
recently, this one about education. Though the article was titled
India Graduates Millions, But Too Few Are Fit to Hire,
it would be easy to put the U.S. or some other country
with a politically correct worship of the college degree where India
is, and the story wouldnt change much at all.
Much as politicians
in Illinois long ago heard of the correlation between
books in the house and intelligent children on the way to a state-run
program to put books in underprivileged homes, the oft-cited correlation
between a college degree and higher income has driven politicians
on the left and right to make attending university a right
to be enjoyed by everyone. That knowledge gained in college on its
very best day has little to no relationship with the work individuals
around the world perform once graduated has not deterred a mad political
rush to make a college education as universal as healthcare.
educators and their media enablers would have us believe that the
act of earning a college diploma makes short people tall, turns
bad writers into Somerset Maugham, and the mathematically challenged
into highly-paid engineers, reality is happily intruding. Whats
going on in India is a good example.
As Geeta Anand
reported in the Wall Street Journal, though call-center company
24/7 Customer Pvt. Ltd is eagerly searching for recruits who
can answer questions by phone and e-mail, its found
that so few of the high school and college graduates who come
through the door can communicate effectively in English, and so
many lack a grasp of educational basics such as reading comprehension,
that the company can hire just three out of every 100 applicants.
This is our future.
politicians aggressively promoting advanced education with the taxpayers
money, the inevitable result will be universities handing out more
and more worthless diplomas to marginal attendees who will enter
college with no skills, and who will similarly depart without the
skills prized by employers. Worse for the victims of this supposed
compassion, many will emerge with a great deal of debt as their
reward for having wasted four years.
As for those
who emerge debt free, they wont be much better off either.
Having spent four years daydreaming through classes on Greek mythology
and feminist art history, theyll have lost four years of real
work that actually teaches them how to get by in an advanced society.
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© 2011 Forbes