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Lecture 10

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Julian Tanner

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 money. 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?  1) Credential inflation is what happens when you have too many well- qualified people chasing low jobs. Results from intense competition in the labor market. The situation young people face.  Screening device of educational qualification is used for jobs that are not particularly complex and demanding.  Required to compete in a tight labor market, young people get more qualifications.  One result of this intense competitive (many chasing few), overtime we see a widening gap between the skills required of a job and the skills of the young people selected and recruited to do those jobs.  For the critics of human capital theory, one explanation for the close connection between education and job is provided by credential inflation. There are other factors such as professionalization. Professionalization:  1) Those in the teaching, nurse, social work occupation, it is more prestige saying you have a university degree. They are motivated to require new recruits to have a university degree.  2) As a university graduate, as a member of an occupational professional, which demands a university degree, there is more money.  3) Clients will be impressed that employer can recruit university graduates. School organization: from small and traditional to large and comprehensive (the shopping Mall High School) 
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