I think that if you disagreed with anything I wrote last week about the fact that I really don’t think everyone needs to go to college, you probably fell into one of three different camps. I will address each one this week.
- We shouldn’t be discouraging people from going to college because that discourages learning.
- Attending college broadened my horizons and brought me in a direction I never would have right out of high school.
- We should develop life skills in college as a first step towards independence.
It is ridiculous to characterize anything I have written as discouraging learning whatsoever. I am all for learning, but I am not for learning things simply to get a credential. Yes, I think that everyone should have a passion for learning, and I think that we should all be perpetual students.
However, let’s consider an HVAC technician for example. If this profession is truly his passion, then do I believe that he should continually be learning to do his job more effectively and efficiently? Absolutely. If he truly feels that this is his God-given calling, then he should do that to the best of his ability.
Outside of work, do I believe that this technician should continually be learning? Absolutely. At the very least, I think that everyone ought to be trying to learn more about the things of God, but I am also very supportive of learning about everything. If this individual is interested in biology, learn about biology. If he is interested in World War I, learn about World War I.
There should be a thirst for learning, and if a university degree helps an individual satisfy that pursuit of knowledge, then I am all for going to college. Like I wrote last week, college is exactly the place to go to pursue knowledge.
Relevant training obviously makes sense because you need to know how to do the job, but we are getting to a point where in order to get any type of job, you need to have some type of college degree in something, and that really just seems kind of strange to me. My example is a little bit unfair because most of the time people who are pursuing HVAC do not need a college degree, but it is not hard to imagine a very near future where that becomes a requirement, and it is worth asking why a piece of paper that might be entirely unrelated to a career or a personal passion would be necessary to get a career
The relevant question to me from a personal standpoint is to again question why a person wants to go to college. Does this person want to go to the University as conceived by Kuyper to pursue knowledge? If so, get there as fast as you possibly can.
If this person wants to go to college to develop job skills, then I am absolutely in favor of specific training to do the job well. If this person wants to get a specific set of skills and move on, then I’m all for trade specific training, and that can apply to just about any field. However, this is not the University. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but they fulfill different needs for different people. They both have an important place to play in our educational system.
I mention this to say that I am absolutely not against learning, and I hope I have made myself clear. Learning is an important part of our professional and personal lives. It is vital that we continue learning and desirable that we have a love of learning. However, we need to make sure that we do not confuse going to school only to get a certificate and the true purpose of the University.