Education-for-Employment : The Role of Information
The other proxy, common in some sectors and industries, is internships of various kinds. Surveys of recruiters in the United States point to greater emphasis put on internships than academic achievement, and this is because internships convey better information to the recruiters - or at least, the kind of information they are looking for - than the transcripts. The problem is that internship is an extremely costly affair - not many can afford working without pay and paying for boarding, lodging and other associated expenses - not to mention that internships are still driven by connections rather than merit.
My point remains that the educators can do more to bridge the education-to-employment problem by seeking to assess, and to provide to recruiters better information about the students ability. To do this, they do not have to abandon the idea of broader education. In fact, this approach may rejuvenate the humanities, and other disciplines, that routinely loses out in the job markets. A scholar in history could do painstaking textual research, a graduate in psychology learns experimental design and a sociology student does fieldwork in the communities, but while certain recruiters may value these abilities, their transcripts do not talk about these things. Instead, it is littered with subjects and marks which are of no relevance to recruiters. Educators design assessments and transcripts with an inward-looking mindset - they assume all their students are preparing for a contemplative lives of scholars - and this discriminates against those looking to pursue an active life of economic participation. Recognising this as a legitimate aspiration, and making available feedback and information that could be used for professional matching, would make education much more relevant and motivating to all concerned.