Why did 17 million students go to college?

George Siemens, elearnspace, Oct 27, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

George Siemens writes, "what is not economically valuable in education takes a back seat in funding and attention." I agree, and in particular with this observation: "Because these individuals are currently working in jobs with skills "below their degrees" doesn't mean that they have not become better members of a democratic society. Would society be better off if those 17 million (in the US) had not received a degree?" The purpose of an education is to improve a person's life, not to extract the greatest economic benefit from that person. And when a government says it will focus exclusively on, say, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, it is saying that people have value only so far as they contribute to industry. I reject that point of view. I reject it out of hand.
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