Saturday, April 04, 2009

Vocational Training vs. Education

There has always been conflict between those who favor vocational training and those who favor broader education. The old apprenticeship focused on vocational training. The apprentice learned how to do a job. While it may not have mattered hundreds of years ago when technology changed slowly, it matters more now when information and skills become obsolete. So it may be more important to "learn how to learn" - a purpose of education. Quite a few years ago, when I was studying Engineering, we calculated that we needed to spend 20% of our time keeping up to date, based on the half-life of knowledge at the time. Most people who go only through vocational training do not realize that so much time has to be spent on continuous learning. As a result. I do favor general education over vocational training. Give me an applied scientist over a technologist any day!

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