The real world versus the university

May 19, 2019 by

The real world versus the universityby Tony Warren –

Journalist Barbara Kay recently highlighted some disturbing facts from a report on Canadian higher education: “More than one-third of the profs they interviewed identified fewer than 10 percent of their students as ‘fully engaged.’ Over 80 percent of professors said they had dumbed down their course work, and had reduced the frequency and difficulty of assignments.”

For most people figures like these are an abstraction. But from my experience in business I can attest that the “dumbed-down course work” makes it difficult to find employees who can perform in their chosen fields.

Educators at all levels have made it almost impossible for employers to assess the quality of potential employees by destroying the traditional link between students’ test achievement scores and their intellectual capacity. The results have not been great for employers like me.

More than a decade ago, I designed a facility to manufacture large composite parts that I had invented. Each part had a high value and each was easy to sell into the international market. The design of the pilot plant was such that it could produce 10 parts in a 7.5-hour shift.

The tasks were not difficult to perform. What was required was some care in the placement of the components and the need to work at a reasonable pace because the composite resins we used had specific workable times.

The process required 20 workers, all of whom where high school graduates, mainly in their early 20s.

At no point did all of these workers show up for work every day. They would never call in to say they weren’t going to come to work and they never offered a reasonable excuse when they did show up at work again. There were always a few who showed up late.

The result of this was that we had to hire at least 25 people to do the work of 20. Because there was always at least one person absent, the plant could never produce the full number of parts it was designed to make. We were never able to operate more than one shift. The result was millions of lost revenue and a bad outcome for the business as well as for its 20 employees.

continue: MercatorNet: The real world versus the university

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