I cringe whenever someone post "inspirational" speech of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Sometimes with notes from the poster that 'you don't have to go to school to become a millionaire'. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel even gives out scholarships for not going to college.
I myself think that college is not for everybody. It may sound arrogantly prickish considering I'm back in college now, but I do. There are several career paths, several life choices that need college education, and several that don't. For the latter, college is just a waste of resources. And looks like we in Indonesia are overwhelmed by college graduates.
Things are screwed in my head so I try to lay the facts here, hopefully to make some senses of them:
- There are two paths of college education in Indonesia, academic and vocational (polytechnique), each with different purpose of life.
- Academic graduates are often regarded higher than polytechnique graduates, which makes people pursue academic and also creates confusing program like Diploma IV.
- Employer often mix up these two paths, ignoring their own need.
- This degree fetishism also triggers the growth of mediocre and low quality colleges, which in itself a waste of resources.
- Which in turn leads to a disparity between job market and job seekers.
The Dutch system is actually more or less what is applied in Indonesia... in theory.
Kids of my generation grew up want to be a doctor or an engineer. Because that was sort of what all there was to it. We need a system to indicate what someone's good at. And we also need a system to make someone knows what (s)he wants.
I met this American guy Mike, or Michael, or whatever his name was during my travel. He had a degree in computer or something, just quit his job because it just helped [insert a big company name here] gains more profit despite of made the world a better place. Maybe US education system also failed him. But when it fails in US, they still have social security and all that s**t. When it fails in Indonesia, it just fails. Not everyone's blessed with privilege. Not then, not now, and sadly not in the near future.
I still think that college is not for everybody. I want my nephew to go to college because he's smart and he thinks outside his small village. College is not only a place for study, but also a place to broaden one's vision and build network. The degree sometimes less matter than the experience. It would be good for him.
And I despise the system that makes everyone who is good for college could not go there.
(picture from google,
stolen used without permission)