During the course of this week and last week, more than 70.000 students will graduate from different universities in Australia. A number that reached almost twice of its own figures just five years ago. Education has become not only a privilege for Australia to provide but now a business model in which an estimated total profit of AU $25 billion are estimated. Currently there are more than one million students enrolled in the many universities all across Australia which means that in the next three years those one million will all either be in the workforce, seeking for one, or come back and be a part of another gang of one million student enrolling in other degree.
Education has been rather forced by any developed, developing, and matured society as early as 3 year old where Elmo teaches us the difference between a fireman and a postman and why the doctor is always the best and most trustable people in the entire universe. We educated and talked ourselves into obsessing to a range of qualifications and certification to make sure that we are well prepared for the so called future and to rescue us from the possibility of being sinfully poor.
During the process of doing that, we are asked to pay a mere AU $4000 a semester if you’re a local and $11000 if you own a different passport. This is a number that steadily increases over the years, despite of the many budgets provided by the previous Australian government, a number that will and already went up thanks to the budget cut by the current government.
During that process, we students are forced to take loans. Or even worse, our parents are forced to pay for the massive bills. Hoping that in exchange we, the future of the world, can build a better future for us, the society, and more importantly their grandchildren.
Sadly, this expectation does not align with the reality. With a total of 10.3 percents of graduated students are stuck in the infinity loop of unemployment months after their graduation. That is 7000 graduands competing with each other; not to forget the 775,400 people who are also unemployed that they also need to compete with for the 147,200 available jobs. Moreover, The Australian (2013) had reported that this year will be even worse, with number of graduands employability will be the lowest in Australia for the past 20 years since 1993.
Clearly, education has no longer become a cushion and security measure for a person’s future, financial security, and standardized life. Despite of that, the high numbers of friends and colleagues that I know, who will graduate during this week and next week, will exceed the capacity of my Facebook newsfeed. Most of which will seek employment and many of which will pursue further study.
The society had trained and implanted a fetish of education in our brain and that as a person with a university degree, I should be able to get a well-paid job with a deserved life behind the desk of a 79 stories building. Sadly, the truth has not been a good friend of us, the fresh grads. And the starting salary themselves will not do us any justice either. The only thing that a university education has done to us is that it leaves us with either a morale obligation to be successful for our parents or a student debt that will creep in our taxes for at least the next 10 years.
It took me the whole night to think about what messages I want to send across with this article. I still have no idea. At the end, what we get in our lives is what we put in. I don’t want to say that university degree is unimportant nor do I want to take away the emphasis on how important university degrees are. At the end many people will use their degree and many won’t. I am sure you have already heard the many stories of people working outside their qualification or even without a qualification who still meet success. At the end, the only thing that a university program will give you is the awesome information and founding’s around the world about the field that you are interested in. Sadly, many of us will have finished a degree through the struggle of studying something that they don’t like. Or to force themselves into science when they like drawing, economics when they like astronomy, and medicine when they like marine biology. Most of which was done to ensure a high income and stable finance.
Ironically, there are hundreds other professions, which require less cost, less time, and yield a higher income. On average, spray painter in Australia can earn at least $38.100, – per annum while accountant will earn at least $39.199, – per annum. Two different jobs with similar pay but one with less cost and more efficient training. While a TAFE course would cost in total from $4000 to $16000, the various range of programs are carefully prepared to make sure people are well prepared for the field that they are training in. A University degree, on the other hand (or at least the one that I attended) has given me an in depth knowledge of the field, a critical approach to understanding the discourses, its history and its future. My professional potential however, is not taken as a part of the semester or the course. I do need to note that extra program outside of the course are organised to help career consultation.
Nevertheless, I am not trying to undermine the University degree. It is good to attend one and I am surely glad that I did. I need to note, however, that if anybody is entering a University program for the purpose of better career that there are many other more cost and time effective ways of tailoring a career. Granted that some jobs do need a University degree (and it is sad that the condition is this way) but we do need to remember that there are also jobs that do not require one. A university degree does not guarantee you any job nor every job requires a university degree. One should get into University because they want to learn, not because they want a job.