Tertiary Institution, Worth It or Not?
You graduated from university with an accounting degree, $60,000 (£45,000) in debt, working for a printing/photocopy shop while sending countless applications for a job in your field (God knows how many more are applying for the same position), Can someone please enlighten me on how I can articulate or sell the idea of pursuing higher education to a young teenager that is still making his or her mind up whether to pick up a trade instead?
That is the harsh reality of our society today, as I had the pleasure of meeting a young man at a photocopy shop yesterday who is still hoping for that dream job in the banking sector that pays well enough for him to amortize his student loan, hence the question is it really worth it after all?
Some say no knowledge is lost, he could use the degree to teach mathematics. While that is true it does not apply in all cases, I know of a lady who graduated as a pharmaceutical scientist and used her degree for something else, I doubt if she still knows how to make pain killers after 3 years of not practicing. The purpose of the degree is defeated in the first place because the young man never dreamed of becoming a teacher, perhaps he detests the profession, he wanted to be an accountant but I guess that is what it will have to come to in the end, a different path to what you have always envisioned as a child which is by no means a fault of his but the system for failing to inform these graduates of the hard times that await them outside those walls.
Let’s look at rough stats for you to get the picture of what this young man pseudonym Peter is up against. In the UK there are 153 incorporated banks which means all the banks listed have a branch at least that is registered to do business in the country from all over the world, up until late 2015 there are 1.1m employee working in the financial sector in the UK.
On the other hand there are a total number of 108 universities and colleges in the UK, the faculty of finance and banking probably take on average 150-200 students at a time maybe more or less. Let’s say 100 of those graduate a year, times that by 108 universities equals 10,800 graduates every year all vying to secure employment in Peter’s field? I know for a fact that UK don’t create 2,000 jobs a year in the financial sector let alone 10,800. So Peter and his fellow graduates will have no choice to pray for job creation or hope one of those 1.1m employee will someday vacate their position which rarely happens in these tough economic times. Chances are way harder to gain employment in all banks especially ones like Ahli Islamic, if by a stroke of luck Peter gets employed, he will have to start as a bank teller and work your way up for experience purposes.
So how do we sell the idea to the youth that going to university is better than picking up a trade? That is tough, I can’t lie especially when the (financial) numbers don’t add up after graduation, I strongly suggest the government do more to find some incentives for unemployed graduates like creation of more jobs with better pay to encourage others to get on board, back in the day it was the pride of our parents to say my son had a degree in this or that and I am sure it’s still a pride to most parents today but what is the point of the degree and the debts if there’s no means of making a living and start repayment? Even most graduates are reluctant to take good paying job to avoid repaying back the £50,000+ ($70,000) loans.
To further buttress my point I have seen plumbers earning more than doctors and teachers (2 of the most important professions in our society) with no student loans looming over the peace. I honestly don’t know how that works out and as far as anyone can see there’s more motivation in a trade than all the rigor of years put in tertiary institution to change or save a life, all for ‘pittance’. Unless of course you really love to save lives and impart a knowledge, then the bottom line shouldn’t really matter. Also the idea of the government doling out loans to students studying courses like History or Religious Studies only tells me one thing, that it is all just big business to entrap future graduate too be indebted to the system for the rest of their lives, how is the student going to pay back after graduation and with what job? A historian or A Preacher?
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