Noor in a Nutshell: Eight years, two diplomas, no knowledge

Noor Naji, Opinion Editor

Plato believed that without equal educational opportunity allowing various people to compete, an unjust society controlled by unqualified rulers was bound to emerge. The popular opinion of education nowadays is not even close to this philosophical and idealistic view. Rather, it is a study-to-work type of system, with little skills or knowledge attained in the process.

Students are constantly reminded by parents, teachers, politicians and the like that one cannot possibly go anywhere important in life without focusing in school, and that is only half true.

While diplomas are becoming ever more important to attaining even an entry level job, a degree has less to do with actual learning and education.
Bryan Caplan, a professor of economics at George Mason University said that experts tend to spin the story of education to one in which schools are somehow able to convert uneducated high school students to highly skilled graduates. However, students, he claims, “are much closer to the action and see what’s going on: As long as they have good grades and finish their degrees, employers care little about what they’ve learned.”

Students graduate high school expecting to finally learn. However, with some students unwilling to put the effort needed, many professors donning a hands-off attitude, and in some cases, a treacherous quarter system in which a whole year’s worth of materials is crammed into few weeks making students prone to forgetfulness, “the future” is in the hands of college graduates who aren’t experts in their own fields.

It is common for students to take classes they know they will do well in, or with a teacher who gives “easy As,” instead of choosing a harder, more relevant class in hopes of maintaining their  GPA. Passing an easy class is more favorable to employers than failing a much harder one, as the “A” implies some effort or work, when in reality, those who pass an easy class are very likely to forget the information they “learned.”

These factors set up these graduates to enter the workforce with little information on how to do the job, creating incompetent workers. But of course, as with everything, there are exceptions. To succeed as a doctor or engineer, time, thought and care is needed on the part of the student. However, the mainstream of employees, working for companies and businesses, do not have the proper qualifications for their jobs.

And while many want to believe that high school and college learning will produce a generation of educated and thoughtful citizens, the reality is that students cruise through these eight years with good grades, but with little or forgotten knowledge.

According to the US Census Bureau, the percentage of the adult population with a bachelor’s degree in 1940 was 5 percent, and by 2015, that percentage has increased more than fivefold to 33 percent. And while it is more likely to find  more people with degrees currently, only a third of American adults can name all three branches of government, the poorest result in six years, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center.