Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Should Companies Accredit Education?
The trigger for this post is a comment on Twitter - "in the future, corporations will be better accreditation bodies for H Ed than governments". Would they?
At the face of it, it may make sense. Aren't we educating ourselves for a job? And do the employers know best what is needed to get a job? For a good part of my life running For-Profit education, how often did I make a claim that the education my company offered is 'industry accredited'. In the UK, Pearson College wants to create such a degree, as they believe a FTSE 100 accrediting a degree has more weight than even a mid-ranking university. Not in the future, this should already sound like a good idea.
It already happens too. We may debate about the semantic of training versus education, but as far as learning is concerned, IBM Global Services, Oracle Education, Microsoft would all be big names if we went just by numbers of students that pursue their certifications and the revenue they generate. Why have they not taken over education already?
Frank Levy and Richard Murnane in their seminal 'The New Division of Labour' looked at the innovations at IBM's Management Training programme, Basic Blue, and Cisco Networking Academies, and pointed out how motivations for corporate sponsored education work. No doubt such programmes become innovative and efficient, but innovation and efficiency are not the only things in education. They highlight how these programmes were motivated and designed driven by immediate requirements or challenges the companies faced, which they responded to very well, but how these training programmes were solely justified as they met the immediate corporate requirement, not any distant educational goal. Also, if we accept the very claim our calls for changing education is based on - that everything, driven by technology, is changing very fast - education curriculum must take a long view and be broad, flexible and creative. Now, is this reasonable to expect the corporations, which, for a very good reason, make a virtue of specifying every recruitment requirement to the minutest possible detail, to really indulge in a broad education, which may include teaching on their competitors' products and critiquing their own business practices? If it is true that, 'the business of business is business', does it not preclude education?
Just as the nature of education is changing - it is becoming more about preparing to deal with an uncertain world than about having a certain outcome and lifestyle expectation - the industrial age rhetoric, everything is business, is catching up. It is not just misguided, but dangerous. Such claims not only get the idea wrong by a couple of decades, by trying to create an education solely focused on jobs, it pushes for further de-professionalisation of education. The big lesson for our time, as distinct from the 70s, should be that the different domains of the society, like the government, family, charities, need different operating principles: Not everything is business. Ann Colby and others make this point strongly, and argue for resisting the 'everything is business' principle in, of all places, business education, in the Carnegie Foundation report "Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning For The Profession". The "industry-accredited" may still make better marketing copies, but we may have already seen the limits of the model.
A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the...
Introduction : The Business of Gift Giving Business gift giving has always been common and contentious at the same time. Business gifts are ...
I remember this awkward dinner conversation. I was with my colleague in Northern Ireland, and a friend of his joined our table. After we w...
I am now in India, after a gap of several months. A lot has changed in the few months since I was last here. Most visibly, the money has c...
As Brexit starts to bite, the politics of it has come alive again. There are some clear signs that the British economy has started co...
The idea came to me from various conversations in China and India: That teacher training in Higher Education is an urgent need and a signi...
In most societies today, making profits are accepted as moral, if not especially praiseworthy. This was not as obvious as it appears today –...
Evolution of Meritocracy: American Eugenics, Intelligence Testing and The Making Of Modern MeritocracyIntroduction In the second decade of the new millennium - now - new questions about human abilities and human worth have arisen. A vas...
The world of politics is changing profoundly. It is not just about the rise of the strongmen rulers - President Xi of China, Prime Ministe...
I have been working on Corporate Training market in India for a while, though it is strictly not in the scope of the business that we do. Ou...
How To Live
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Theodore Roosevelt
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T S Eliot
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.