Tuesday 22nd September, 15:00
Too many graduates, too few workers:
How should higher education adapt to a shrinking knowledge economy?
The coronavirus pandemic has taught us something we ought already to have known: that care workers, supermarket shelf-stackers, delivery drivers and cleaners are doing essential work that keeps us all alive, fed and cared for. They are now lauded as ‘key workers’, but why have they been so chronically undervalued?
In recent decades how we value work and workers has become deeply biased towards academic standards. Cognitive ability has become the gold standard of human esteem. As recently as the 1970s most people left school without qualifications, but now 40 per cent of all jobs are graduate-only. In this central struggle for status and dignity in the twenty-first century education will be at the forefront of reshaping societies priorities.