Wednesday, June 25, 2014

fyup - What's the fuss other than the awkward abbreviation

My experiences with conventional higher education have been disillusioning. The Delhi University's Four Year program was at least an effort to be different even though it did not address the centralized examination system which, in my opinion, is the single most important cause of lack of learning and waste of time.

Education in US forced me to study various subjects across disciplines though I would have opted out of them at that age. I was definite that I would spend my life at a university teaching and researching physics and nothing else mattered! Fortunately, it wasn't to be.

However, there is little doubt in my mind that the most useful courses for me have been philosophy (ethics), psychology (especially behavioural) , social sciences (e.g having to read Nathaniel West's A Cool Million in a capitalist society).

Had I succeeded in the corporate world, I may have even found the Physical Education course I took(Golf) useful, which incidentally brought down my GPA.

The whole discussion seems to be entangled and procedural. I did not find it interesting except that there seems to be a feeling that foundation courses and exiting after 2 years are of no use at all.

Our society is accustomed to hiring over-qualified people just because they are available cheaply. However, what are the skills needed for most service sector job, e.g. retail, sales people, customer facing staff in any organization, general call centre employees, etc.

  • Communication skills
  • Ability to deal with people (psychology)
  • Functional mathematics
  • Ability to work with computers
    • functional literacy  - keyboard usage, GUI interfaces, browsing skills, understand error messages, etc.
    • NOT programming skills.
What else are the foundation courses?

However, can any university prepare us for the robotic future?

If the debate focused on education for the future in a world where software eats all jobs, that would be enlightening! Optimistic, Inequality, Plausible and likely, Pessimistic, and Bleak fiction by Marshall Brain.

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