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Lecture 10

SOCB26H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Credentialism And Educational Inflation, Human Capital

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Julian Tanner

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Lecture 10
Schools and social organization: human capital theory
A knowledge based economy that we have presently, more and more jobs
are going to require cognitive skills as a necessity. Schools generate
cognitive skills which human capital see as a prerequisite for performing
well in knowledge based society.
Human capital theory assumes that individuals (young people in
particular) as well as families invest their time, effort and money in
education because there are personal economic prosperity is dependent
on schooling system. Similarly, governments make a similar assumption,
namely resources of education contributes to productive society.
The argument of the human capital theory is that the better educated the
society; the more prosperous the living comes. The more that we invest in
education, the more educational qualifications we have and the better we
have for maximizing our chances for a decent job.
Studies show that people with the most education do earn the most
What the critics say:
The more interesting question is whether this connection between
education and jobs can be explained by human capital theory.
If it is the business of the education system to produce the higher end
cognitive skills, which are seen as needed for decent performance, how
come we have presently (and had for some time), large number of high
school/college/university graduates that are underemployed?
Currently, we have way more high school/college/university graduates
than we need to fill jobs.
They don’t need the knowledge and skills learned to perform adequately in
the jobs.
Weak relationship between what we learn in school and what we do in our
jobs in the workplace.
School curriculum develops according to its own logic and seldom
responds to demands of the labor market or employers.
Evidence isn’t great for employers recruiting new people. Put time to
select students with the highest grades.
Research indicates a number of things. One thing is that between hiring a
university and high school graduate they would pick university graduate.
Evidence doesn’t seem to suggest that they pay that must potential to the
grades you got with relatively few exceptions merely passing your exam is
good enough. Some evidence drawn on making that statement is that
occasionally they are interested in personality. They want to know if the
person shows up on time, can work independently. These are shown as
cognitive skills.
Correlation between grades and occupational attainment isn’t very great.
So why do employers prefer to hire university graduates?
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