Once it got to the point that it took a BA to get considered for a secretarial position, it was a short step to our present unhappy state:
So much any more, it seems that education is seen merely as the means to an end — that is, a diploma for a job. And I suppose given the cost of tuition and the state of the economy, that’s not all that surprising. But, darn it — I like the idea of learning for the sake of learning, and I like the idea of the joy of learning, and sometimes I wonder if we aren’t losing some of that in our mad rush to make education as coldly “efficient” as possible, so it can seem more “cost effective.” I will also note that once again, I now kind of wish I had been made to learn Latin. Oh, I think at the time, continuing on with French was a good decision (I had already learned some in middle school, and I was good at it), but still.
Since Job One at the so-called “Human Resources” department is to find excuses not to hire people, for the foreseeable future we can probably expect diplomas to be viewed merely as trade-school completion certificates. And it’s easy to snark about fields which don’t have a lot of lucrative job openings at the moment — art history is, you should pardon the expression, the poster child for this sort of thing — but what kind of world would we have without them?
Look around you. Quants and lawyers, lawyers and quants, hoping for that sixth (or seventh!) digit before the decimal point. I’m a hard-nosed numbers guy myself; but once in a while that nose has to get a whiff of the roses.