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Competency based education vs credit based education

As the whole education eco system become more transparent, I think this issue will being to surface again. Will you rather spend US$60K per year on a Stanford or Harvard degrees (now that you can take MOOCs), or would you rather spend much less money to get some certificates or credential (not necessarily degrees) that would get you a good job? What is really the ultimate goal for higher education? Certainly the intense intellectual atmosphere, meta-curricular skill development, and intellectual inspiration are all important, but do they really worth that price tag? Can that prestigious degree directly be translated into great jobs or personal achievement? These are all interesting topics to discuss about...


Submitted by 1 year ago

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  1. Moderator

    I think you've presented a bit of a false dichotomy here, or at least confounded different issues. The likelihood is that degrees from the elite institutions will continue to be valued because of the institutions prestige as well as the connections that can be made as an affiliate of the institution. So for most of the people electing to attend those few institutions, the value of the degree (including the connectivity potentials) is absolutely worth it.

    At the so-called mid-tier institutions, there may be a question as to whether you are better off getting a bunch of certifications versus a college degree, but the cost differential is also much smaller.

    I also think you're $90K job with a bunch of certifications is just about as likely as somebody playing professional sports. It will happen every once in awhile to an extraordinary individual, but it won't be the norm. Yes, someone like Edward Snoden can get a $200K job with just a high school degree and a lot of skill, but taken as a percentage of the college-bound population, people like him are a very, very small percentage. I don't think it's unreasonable to believe someone might be able to get a $0K or $50K job on certification alone, but I will argue that their upward mobility will be capped if they don't have the kind of skills that are learned as part of the college experience (critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, and teamwork).

    1 year ago

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    1 year ago