by Taylor O’Connor
People have debated the importance of higher education vs. vocational education for years. Is it more important to have broad, well-rounded abilities and skills? Or is it more practical and beneficial to train specifically in your field to be as well versed in your area as possible? The answer the majority of Americans choose may surprise you.
According to an article written by Michael Stratford, new surveys show that a large portion of the American public and business leaders believe that the importance of education lies in being well-rounded and having a multitude of skills rather than having just industry specific skills. These surveys show that businesses value skills such as written communication and problem solving over skills specific to that vocation. More importantly, the survey found that only 62% of respondents value higher education. They also said that the current system is poorly preparing college students for post graduation work. Stratford’s article additionally reported that the 41% of the American public, down 8% from last year, believes that online education offers “similar quality” in comparison to conventional colleges.
Thinking of the complaints of price for higher education, one would not think that the majority of people would promote a traditional four year education over a cheaper two year vocational school if applicable. There are some jobs that understandably need four year degrees, like education or nursing. But if someone wants to work with electronics, why not go to a two year vocational school instead of a four year program, racking up much more debt? Yes, being a well-rounded individual is beneficial to society as a whole, but if one can do their job just as effectively without digging themselves into a hole, then that should be the route more people are taking.