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大学は必要か?というレベルから考える

 


大学に対する批判への反論として大学教授から上がるのは「学問の重要性」とかのいわゆる正論からの反論ですが、現在大学が果たしている別の役割=仕事を得るための、信用を得るための資格から問題を見ている人もいます。そもそもほとんどの学生が研究者になりたくて大学に入っているわけではないことを考えると必要な視点だと思うのですが。。。

一般人への大学教育はお金と時間の無駄だと主張する経済学者の本ですが、Atlanticで抜粋が読めます。

Students don't seem to be getting much out of higher education.
BRYAN CAPLAN  JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 ISSUE

Suppose your law firm wants a summer associate. A law student with a doctorate in philosophy from Stanford applies. What do you infer? The applicant is probably brilliant, diligent, and willing to tolerate serious boredom. If you’re looking for that kind of worker—and what employer isn’t?—you’ll make an offer, knowing full well that nothing the philosopher learned at Stanford will be relevant to this job.

The labor market doesn’t pay you for the useless subjects you master; it pays you for the preexisting traits you signal by mastering them. This is not a fringe idea. Michael Spence, Kenneth Arrow, and Joseph Stiglitz—all Nobel laureates in economics—made seminal contributions to the theory of educational signaling. Every college student who does the least work required to get good grades silently endorses the theory. But signaling plays almost no role in public discourse or policy making. As a society, we continue to push ever larger numbers of students into ever higher levels of education. The main effect is not better jobs or greater skill levels, but a credentialist arms race.

確かにTOEICでもスコアアップの学習を擁護する議論でも、会社から、学校からスコア取得を指示された人を引き合いに出す人がいますし、希望する仕事を得るための足がかりとしてTOEICをみなす人もいます。こういう人たちはTOEICをeducational signalingと捉えているんでしょう。

学生のほとんどが学んだことを忘れてしまうし、大学在学中も勉学に打ち込むわけではないことをデータを持ち出してこの学者は訴えてます。

I’m cynical about students. The vast majority are philistines. I’m cynical about teachers. The vast majority are uninspiring. I’m cynical about “deciders”—the school officials who control what students study. The vast majority think they’ve done their job as long as students comply.

Those who search their memory will find noble exceptions to these sad rules. I have known plenty of eager students and passionate educators, and a few wise deciders. Still, my 40 years in the education industry leave no doubt that they are hopelessly outnumbered. Meritorious education survives but does not thrive.

Indeed, today’s college students are less willing than those of previous generations to do the bare minimum of showing up for class and temporarily learning whatever’s on the test. Fifty years ago, college was a full-time job. The typical student spent 40 hours a week in class or studying. Effort has since collapsed across the board. “Full time” college students now average 27 hours of academic work a week—including just 14 hours spent studying.

個人レベルを考えた場合には学歴によって給料も増えるので得ですが、国家レベルで考えるとそれほど効果はなく、しかも職業訓練学校の軽視にもつながるので逆効果ではないかと指摘します。また、さらなる差別化のために大学院進学などの学歴競争が激化していることも懸念しています。

What does this mean for the individual student? Would I advise an academically well-prepared 18-year-old to skip college because she won’t learn much of value? Absolutely not. Studying irrelevancies for the next four years will impress future employers and raise her income potential. If she tried to leap straight into her first white-collar job, insisting, “I have the right stuff to graduate, I just choose not to,” employers wouldn’t believe her. To unilaterally curtail your education is to relegate yourself to a lower-quality pool of workers. For the individual, college pays.

This does not mean, however, that higher education paves the way to general prosperity or social justice. When we look at countries around the world, a year of education appears to raise an individual’s income by 8 to 11 percent. By contrast, increasing education across a country’s population by an average of one year per person raises the national income by only 1 to 3 percent. In other words, education enriches individuals much more than it enriches nations.

The conventional view—that education pays because students learn—assumes that the typical student acquires, and retains, a lot of knowledge. She doesn’t. Teachers often lament summer learning loss: Students know less at the end of summer than they did at the beginning. But summer learning loss is only a special case of the problem of fade-out: Human beings have trouble retaining knowledge they rarely use. Of course, some college graduates use what they’ve learned and thus hold on to it—engineers and other quantitative types, for example, retain a lot of math. But when we measure what the average college graduate recalls years later, the results are discouraging, to say the least.

視点を変えて、この著者のいう大学の問題を見ていると大卒資格を求める馬鹿らしさを感じられます。この本の書評の書き出しです。

By KYLE SMITH December 15, 2017 4:00 AM

An economist makes a powerful case against education. Suppose you always wanted to date tall and good-looking people, and believe yourself to be tall and good-looking too. There’s a club in your city called Lucky’s where all the tall and good-looking people go, so you show up there. But you can’t get in. The bouncer stops you. 

“Only tall and good-looking people are allowed in.” 

“I’m tall and good-looking, though.” 

“Only tall and good-looking people with the proper credentials.” At this point, as he’s letting in another batch of the long and luscious, you notice that most of them are presenting the bouncer with a fancy piece of paper that says, “100% certified tall and good-looking.” 

Aha, you say. I need that fancy paper. You go to the marketplace and find a confusing system of stalls and shops selling various kinds of fancy paper. Some of them won’t even look at you. Finally you notice a guy beckoning from an alley: “Psst. Tall-and-good-looking credentials right here.” 

“How much?” you say. 

“Only $60,000,” he says. “Plus four years of your life. Deal?” 

You smell something fishy. And yet you go ahead with it. You take out loans. You spend four years of your life doing baffling chores. And you get your tall-and-good-looking credential. But when you take it back to the club, the bouncer just sneers at you. “We don’t accept credentials from this place.” 

At this point you catch a glimpse of your reflection in someone’s car window. And you realize you’re 4′11″ and look like the Joker after he fell into a vat of acid. The guy you owe $60,000 is laughing.

そうはいってもおそらくこの著者への一般的な反応はブルームバーグの書評のようなものになるでしょう。

 “Education’s like John Gotti,” Bryan Caplan writes in a new broadside against the U.S. system. “Guilty as sin, but everyone’s petrified to testify against it.”
By Peter Coy

Caplan’s solution—slashing public support for public education—is what’s problematic. He argues that if subsidies were taken away, poor youths who couldn’t afford college would be unharmed, because employers would begin to view a diploma as a signal of family money, not brains. Maybe. But those strivers would also be deprived of the human capital that college builds—which even Caplan estimates at a fifth of the value of a degree and some other economists say is substantially higher. In a 2015 column for the Hechinger Report, an education website, Andre Perry, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, writes that the cliché “college isn’t for everyone” is code for “those people aren’t smart enough for college.”

Caplan is right that higher education consumes too much time and money for too little benefit. But the system needs to change in a way that would narrow society’s gaps, not widen them.

彼の意見がメインストリームになることはないでしょうが、このような視点から根本的に大学教育の必要性を考えてもいいはずです。
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