Recently I was sitting chatting to a stranger in a waiting room and the discussion got around to what we each did for a living. He told me how he works in tourism but that he studied telecommunications at university. It was there that the dread of 'doing' telecommunications hit him.
This is a common enough story that I come across with people that have been persuaded that university is the pinnacle of success and that they need to choose an academic subject that they are good at rather than something for which they have a passion.
This conversation took place in Turkey where I now live at a time when the people are engaged in a big debate on study centres that provide preparation for university entrance exams. This gives me a feeling of deja vu that reminds me of the debates in the UK about closing grammar schools, about examination grade drift and about positive discrimination for university entrance.
As someone who has spent all of my working life in some form of education or training activity people often ask me my views. These remain constant throughout all of these debates. I see no point in taking sides in a debate where both sides are actively engaged in rearranging the seats on the Titanic!
When will people realise that education should be about the whole of the brain and not just the academic part of it? When will they realise that achievement at university brings neither employment certainty or happiness certainty? When will they realise that the innovation revolution that replaced the industrial revolution requires individual, creative people and not conveyor belt clones?
In today's ever changing world education needs to continue throughout life and needs to encourage the diversity that makes humans different from all other species on the planet. We complain about chickens in battery cages, let's stop missing the point and stop treating people like battery hens!