Should education serve business? LO6622

Dr. Ivan Blanco (BLANCO@BU4090.BARRY.EDU)
Thu, 11 Apr 1996 21:42:55 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO6381 --

> From:
> >Let's distinguish between the advanced training represented by MBAs, JDs
> >and the like, and general education at the K-12 and college levels. The
> >former serves the interests of the users of the training (businesses, law
> >firms, etc.), while the latter serves a much more general societal
> >purpose. I hope we haven't become so narrowly business oriented that we
> >have lost sight of the fact that business is only one element in the
> >complex system in which we live.
> What is this implicit assumption that "businesses, law firms, etc." are
> not "...societal..."? Who does not gain their livlihood from a business?
> If I substitute the word organization for business I can say "none of us"
> and actually I can say none without that thin substitution since without
> businesses no other organization would exist. Even the individual or
> family is in the BUSINESS of at least surviving (breaking even) but I
> don't know of a single individual or family which oesn't actually want to
> make a profit (surivival + making things better) so we are all in business
> I's say.

Business is a big part of society. And in some societies business
is the society. It does not matter that society started first with the
church as in som cases. Everything is now controlled, dominated,
influenced by business. Ignoring the needs of the business sector of
society will lead to drastic changes in education (this is my
speculation), due to the fact the business has the potential (and it is
happening to some degree) to take over education and do it right (whatever
this means), and even make some profits out of it. Davis and Botkin in
their book "The Mosnter Under the Bed," discuss this very well.

> It is PRECISELY the ill-founded belief that business and societal are
> different things that is the entire problem we have with the worst
> performing educational system on earth (results/$) and causes inumerable
> other problems - IMHO.

In a conversation with Dr. Myron Tribus he emphasized that
universities can teach both knowledge and know-how, and that there is no
conflict between these two. Part of my arguments during some years now is
that higher education is a very tough institution to change, and it has
not repsonded to the current needs of society. There is not only the need
for knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but there is also a strong need
to develop people who can effectively and promptly contribute to the
success of business. This in turn will lead to the success of the rest of
society. THe question we probably need to asking ourselves is who do we
(in universities) really serve? ANd how do we accomplish that?

-- Ivan,


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