This is something that has only recently been brought to my attention. Someone asked me a few weeks ago about the real reason why I have come to university, what I wanted to gain from it and how I thought it would improve my quality of life. Obviously, I thought that I am here to gain a greater level of knowledge, and potentially increase my chances of getting a better job. However, what is it that university is teaching us?
Doing a degree in psychology I thought that I would have the opportunity of going into many different job areas once I had gained my degree, but that has been reports suggesting that graduates are not going into very skilled job carreers, almost a fifth of graduates are unemployed. Typically, graduates aged 21-64 earn a wage of about £15 an hour, compared to others without a degree earning £9 an hour. The best paid graduates are those of medicine and dentistry, but those of arts and humanities will only earn an everage of £12 an hour (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17271263). In my opinion, medicine and dentistry are very taught, skilled degrees that are aimed towards specified jobs, but psychology is not like that at all. So what are we being taught?
I have slowly began to realise that all the information we are taught in lectures is available in books, and with increase use of the internet, we can find any of the information online ourselves. I have found this since starting on my project proposal, I know more about my project within six weeks, compared to any other module- even though I have not been taught anything or had a lecture on any of it. So why not learn everything in this way? We pay a lot of money to think that we are going to gain knowledge, but discover that the only way we are going to learn is if we find the information ourselves. There are many papers that try to explain why this is the case, leading to me thinking that having to learn something by ourselves and search for the information, it enhances our level of retention (http://bjorklab.psych.ucla.edu/research.html).
So if we do not need the university to learn the information, what are we paying for other than a piece of paper to say we have a degree?
We are not here to learn, we are here to become more employable (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13013994). The university experience helps us experience problems that we have to overcome and carry on with our lives and studies, just like we would have to do later in life with a job and a family. As well as this, many of us improve in skills that would be vital in a job, such as communication skills (both written and verbal) and computer skills. If you apply for a job, they are not going to interested in what you can tell them about Bandura’s Bobo doll study, they are going to look at how your can put across the information to someone else that knows nothing about it. These are the skills that university teach us, this is why we come to university and how we get these ideal jobs that we all hope for.