This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0
 

  The Herman Trend Alert

January 15, 2003

Alternative Educational Paths

In most countries, students attend school, earn their certificates, and go out into the world to seek their fortunes (find jobs). Some countries work with students to identify skills and aptitudes early in their educational process. Based on those early assessments, students are assigned to a track and predestined to particular types of educations and careers.

Employers and parents are increasingly concerned about the quality and effectiveness of public and private education. A wide variety of community leaders are searching for solutions that will enable students to be better prepared for careers and for life.

One of the issues on the table is whether so many students should go to traditional undergraduate and, perhaps, graduate education. Since statistics indicate that college graduates have greater earning power over their lifetimes, parents push their children to take college-preparatory courses and go to a university after high school., Parents often ignore other studies, showing that a significant percentage of those students never go beyond their first university year, if they even finish that first year. They did not belong in college; they should have been encouraged to choose a different educational alternative.

Students who do not continue their university education often begin their working life with a sense of failure, and inadequate preparation for a career. Sometimes they wander aimlessly for a while, experimenting, trying to determine what to do. Unfortunately, while they search for their paths, they waste valuable career development time.

While students try to find themselves, employers struggle to find workers with needed skills. Those employers encourage students to consider vocational schools, technical colleges, and training provided by employers and labor unions. Skilled positions often pay well, with incomes comparable to those earned by university graduates.

In the future, we will see more effective assessment of students in their early teens. Based on aptitude, interests, skills, and academic achievement (more than just grades), students will be guided toward educational option(s) best suited for them.

With greater emphasis placed on student guidance, more students will be encouraged to consider vocational education. Vocational schools will strengthen their offerings, including broader academic components.


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