Monday, September 19, 2011

The entitlement generation

This article from the Toronto Globe and Mail has sparked a good deal of discussion in Canada in recent days.  The crux of the article focuses on the work ethic and life expectations for current university students in Canada and some of the findings are interesting.

"Ken Coates sat in on a recent presentation to executives of some of Canada’s biggest companies. It reviewed the results of a massive survey of university students about their work expectations. The survey found that work/life balance and vacation time ranked extremely high on their wish list. They also expected high salaries and quick promotions. On average, they expected a starting salary of $53,000 a year."

Okay, so far, that's not great, but who doesn't want work/life balance when they are 19?

"At the end of the presentation, a senior executive said: “If what you say is true, then we cannot succeed as a company in Canada.”

Some other choice quotes from the article:

"But don’t take his word for it. Many students openly admit their goal is to succeed with the least amount of effort. And many universities make this easy for them. It isn’t hard to find courses where you can get good marks even if you don’t show up. Professors say it’s not uncommon for 30 per cent or 40 per cent of their students to skip any given class. And students strenuously object if they don’t get the marks they feel entitled to. “They got 80 per cent in high school and, when they get 62 per cent, they’re mad,” says Prof. Coates. “They bring assignments in late and think we’ll mark them without penalty.”

and this might be the paragraph of the decade so far...

"The entitlement mindset didn’t come from nowhere. It came from us. It came from a generation of adults who believed that kids should never be allowed to fail, or told the truth about their abilities, or learn that getting what you want is sometimes hard. On top of that, we have the modern fallacy of higher education – much beloved of politicians, who believe the acquisition of a BA is a sort of alchemy that can transform intellectual dross into gold and ensure that everyone, no matter how inert, can succeed in the knowledge economy."

"The best are as good as ever, maybe better. The top 15 per cent or 20 per cent – the same students who would have gone to university a generation ago – really do crave intellectual engagement."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Part of the blame for this situation lies within what I refer to as the Higher Education complex. For years it's been selling the lie that higher education, no matter what the cost or what area of study, is always better than alternate routes to successful and lucrative employment.

The result is we have an entire generation now leaving college with huge debts and no real world skills. Sadly, schools and parents add to this fallacy by pushing the same agenda without even considering the cheaper routes like apprenticeships, on the job training, or career and technical education classes offered in high school.