In my point of view, yes, definitely. Everyone is yelling the social environment is not as good as before, not only because of the economic crisis during and after the COVID-19 pandemic but also because the job market is now developing in an abnormal way.
What is credentialism? Credentialism is also called education inflation, which means a certain education certificate is becoming valueless, and students have to get higher education certificates not for learning knowledge but for gaining the same value.
From the employer’s perspective, they prefer to filter job-seekers via education certificates, but not via their ability to complete the job. Don’t you think this is really unfair? But if you keep thinking of this, you will find it is also reasonable. Human Resources has to review hundreds of resumes a day. The first glimpse of the CV determines whether this candidate will be considered twice. So the first thing HRs consider is your education level. Because it is really hard and it costs more to actually figure out whether an applicant’s ability could fit the job. So credentialism is the only way out, pretty hopeless huh?
That’s where the problem occurs, students tend to get higher education certifications, and many of them are even not interested in academic research at all! Some of them just don’t want to take part in the cruel job-hunting market and decide to delay their graduation from the identity of being a student by getting a master’s degree or even a PhD degree.
One of the reasons for this phenomenon is the malformation of the education system, especially the compulsory education stage. In my opinion, the primary school stage is just letting children grow in a happy environment(e.g. doing sports exercises, making handicrafts, etc.), helping them know more about the world(country and world history, etc.), and teaching them some necessary ability to live(e.g. how to make the bed, identifying fruits and vegetables, do the dishes or even learn how to cook). At the middle and high school stage, some basic and advanced knowledge like math, chemistry, and physics should be instilled in students step by step. Up to now, most of the students could realize which kind of major they are interested in so that they wouldn’t be so confused when choosing university majors.
Chinese Higher Education also needs reform. The present situation is that student all over the country are trying their best to get into the top universities(this also happens when they are graduating from middle school or even elementary school). All the effort has been made during the high school stage, and once they are enrolled into the university, it seems that an important goal(being in a top university) has been achieved and they are not willing to put more effort into learning. This results in a high fail rate in some specific courses even though the student performed excellently in the previous study.
Another reason why the reform is necessary is that many of the professors in university think little of teaching. On the contrary, they prefer doing scientific research. They tend to write papers with their master’s and PhD students but ignore the in-class education. So professors are more likely to rate relatively high scores in order to finish their teaching quota. However, professors are not the only one to be blamed, the policy in college force them to act like this. Professors’ titles are rated according to the quality and the quantity of the papers and essays they have published. The consequence is obvious, bachelor students’ standards are far lower than before. These are the reasons why education is now getting cheaper and cheaper.
Are there any solutions? Here are some of my personal opinions: what if universities put more effort into the bachelor students’ education by raising standards, and professors are more strict with students? Although this will certainly make students harder to graduate, this can undoubtedly also improve their ability significantly. It’s really worth trying. The result may not be paid back in a few years, but this will definitely be a long-term effect.
Rome was not built in one day, what happening now is an accumulated consequence for decades. Personally, I think I am not the research type, so I choose not to get the MS degree but to find a job. I wish you all the efforts that have been made will get payback. I hope this society and this world will be normal soon.