Universities Should Prepare Students For The Workforce
Schools prepare students for colleges and universities which further groom them for the practical world. Just as the primary task of students to study in a university is to have a decent job, the same way the task of a university should be and in fact is to prepare its students for the workforce. The colleges and universities play a vital role in developing fundamental capabilities needed by students to enter any type of workforce. The first thing that intuitively comes to mind when we come across the term ‘workforce’ is engineers, doctors, teachers and pilots. We have limited the definition of workforce by excluding such professionals as dancers, authors, artists and musicians.
Workforce does not include the workers or laborers only, it also incorporates non-academic professionals. It is not the capitalistic workforce that is being talked about, in fact, any kind of people who are related to entertainment industries, art, and music are being the subject. Universities are already catering to prepare students for the workforce. It is just that the economic sector they are catering to is different. If a university fails to do so, it will become hard for the students to face the challenges and complexities of the real world.
The colleges and universities are preparing students to confront the realistic world maturely as well as wisely and for the right application of knowledge. They serve as directions and impart those exact abilities that are needed to help a student enter any workforce. The qualities of a good workforce are the sense of responsibility, sense of accountability, flexibility, timeliness and sense of team work. All these qualities should be and are being built by universities.
The successful people, for instance, the alumni of Lahore University of Managements Sciences are running successful and profitable restaurants such as Monal, Casabianca, Maaro Tandoors and Bombay Chowpatti. Furthermore, the renowned actress Natalie Portman who played a leading role in “Black Swan” is the graduate of Harvard University (Natalie Portman Biography). These personalities have benefited a lot from their universities. In other words, their universities played a vital role in shaping their careers.
The university is just like a potter’s wheel that models for a person a sense of what to do and what not to do. For instance, if any Instructor is not trained and is teaching in a school just to get trained, this would mean that students are being used and are not benefitting. The Instructor should be fully trained before s/he enters a classroom and that is what a university should do. A university should provide students with a complete tool kit so that at least they know what to do in different scenarios such as meeting deadlines and decision making. It should instill such skills as adaptability, open mindedness and confidence in students to make them able to tackle the modern complexities. Experience is a separate thing because experience can only be gained in a real job. The job of the university is to enrich students with all the equipments needed to fulfill that job and attain the right kind of experience.
In a conservative country like Pakistan, several universities are preparing students for different types of workforce. For example, University of Agriculture Faisalabad and Sindh Agriculture University and many other related universities are contributing towards agriculture, increasing the quality of products, and striving hard to devise new methods of agriculture and trying to resolve environmental hazards caused by climate change. The problem arises when people start accepting mediocrity. The public schools are not yet updated but universities are up to date. The Higher Education Commission is effectively working in Pakistan trying to support academic growth of students and strengthen universities (Higher Education Commission).
Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore is making economists, political scientists, anthropologists and many more. Similarly, National Academy of Performing Arts in Karachi is making artists, musicians and actors. Though there are only a few universities catering to such workforce, one cannot deny their existence. That is because the people in Pakistan are still uncomfortable with students being musicians, actors or dancers. It is only with the help of academic institutions that can change their perceptions. Likewise, the perception of models as immoral in character and all such stereotypes can be removed only by educational institutions. If colleges and universities give the opportunity to students to work with media personalities, then eventually this perception will go away. The improvements in media industry is increasing this type of workforce. The change in society or the introduction of anything new cannot be just implemented by merely mentioning about it in articles, books or newspapers. The source for effective implementation is an educational institution.
The cultural academic environment makes it harder for the students to go beyond academic careers (June) because all the focus is towards making conventional professionals to keep hospitals, and factories running. The students are unaware of the vast and diverse opportunities available to them and only the universities can help and in fact are helping them explore such opportunities. The speaker Paula Chambers in Ohio State University gave graduate students information about alternative careers. “You’re in charge of your career. My message to you today is you need to prepare to be versatile.” She addressed the audience. Not only Ohio State university but also universities such as Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania and Michigan State are helping Ph.D. students to explore non-academic professions (June).
When a college and university teaches students the fundamental traits of workforce, it also inculcates in students a sense of citizenship, their roles and duties as a civilian towards the betterment of the society. The diversity of students in universities enables them to interact with students belonging to different backgrounds and beliefs. Hence, this avoids violence and aversion when one has to work with people of different religions and home towns. The various societies in colleges and universities also plays a significant role in furnishing the students’ avocations such as singing, acting, dancing or even sports. Likewise, the regular seminars and talks make the students aware of the economic, social and global issues.
In addition, the several diverse courses available to students help them decide precisely which career they want to pursue. A student who always wanted to be an engineer might end up being a grand economist. Moreover, the national and international competitions among universities such as debates, sports, and drama give students enough opportunities of grooming their personalities. More importantly, the exchange programs give students the opportunity to study a semester in a university in an alien country which further harness students’ abilities and give them a chance to explore different places. Thus, a university prepares students to be versatile. The healthy environment provided to the students by the universities develops them both internally and externally.
Education provides pupils those skills that prepare them mentally, socially and physically for the work in later life. It is the foundation of social prosperity and political stability (Arshad and Akramnaseem). The effective source of getting this type of education is through a university.
In this day and age, the change in social, political and economic conditions demand higher levels of skills which are being built by universities. A graduate of high school or a student who leaves higher secondary school without finishing secondary qualification faces several difficulties entering and staying in a labor market (Education Indicators in Focus). But a graduate of a university seems confident entering a workforce. This is self-evident that a university shapes the student’s career and prepare him/her fully for the practical world.
People tend to judge others partly based on their education as well, a university graduate will be much appreciated as compared to a student who did not attend university. The university not only offers economic benefits to the students but also gives social benefits. Though university makes it easier to get a job, it also ensures that a student has all the necessary lifelong skills and a good character. It is not that colleges and universities guarantee a job, many renowned personalities such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg did not complete college education yet they are successful entrepreneurs.
They dropped out of college but changed the world with their ideas (Moh, Anthony). It is just that it at least makes you a better human being and makes you aware of the world with its complexities and predicaments. Whether or not it guarantees a job, it equips you with all the tools needed to pursue the kind of workforce one wishes to choose.
Arshad, Muhammad., and Muhammad Akramnaseem. “Comparison Between the Performance of Trained and Untrained Teachers in Lahore.” Global Journal of Human Social Science 13.3 (2013). global journals Inc. (USA) Web. 19 Mar. 2017 globaljournals.org
“HEC Services” Higher Education Commission Pakistan. Web. 20 Mar. 2017 hec.govt.pk
“How well are countries educating young people to the level needed for a job and a living wage?”. Education Indicators in Focus (2012). OECD. Web. 19 Mar. 2017 www.oecd.org
June, Audrey Williams. “More Universities Break the Taboo and Talk to Ph.D.’s About Jobs Outside Academe.” The Chronicles of Higher Education (2011) Web 19 Mar. 2017 www.chronicle.com
Moh, Anthony. “How is it that college dropouts like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg changed the world so much?” Quora, 16 August. 2015. Web. 19 Mar. 2017 www.quora.com
“Natalie Portman Biography”. Bio. A&E Television Networks, 4 March. 2017. Web. 20 Mar. 2017 The Biography.com
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