Blog Post

Death by degrees, certification and accreditation

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 14 August 2012



Death by degrees, certification and accreditation
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 146
Posted DateTuesday 14 August 2012 14:32 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://nplusonemag.com/death-by-degrees ... 
http://www.gurteen.com/gurteen/gurteen.nsf/id/km-certificati ... 
CategoriesEducation; Measures, Targets and Rewards
PeopleAlfie Kohn

If you are wrestling in your mind with the problems faced by education today or maybe more narrowly the issue of knowledge management certification and accreditation then I think you will find this article Death by Degrees a very provocative and stimulating read with a great deal to think about and reflect on.

Here is a taste:

The original universities in the Western world organized themselves as guilds, either of students, as in Bologna, or of masters, as in Paris.

From the first, their chief mission was to produce not learning but graduates, with teaching subordinated to the process of certification -- much as artisans would impose long and wasteful periods of apprenticeship, under the guise of "training," to keep their numbers scarce and their services expensive.

For the contemporary bachelor or master or doctor of this or that, as for the Ming-era scholar-bureaucrat or the medieval European guildsman, income and social position are acquired through affiliation with a cartel.

Those who want to join have to pay to play, and many never recover from the entry fee.

I have always been attracted to the idea of doing away with certificates, exams and all forms of testing and accreditation as I believe the downdside is too great - see what Alfie Kohn has to say on the matter.

Having read the article, I am close to being convinced - imagine the joy of learning if it were untainted by tests, certificates and exams.

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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