“To Uni” or not “To Uni” – is education in its most basic form dead?

A slave to social media, all things political and Brexit, I came across a tweet last night during Question time where @otto_english tweeted the following:

“Michelle Dewberry’s qualifications amounts to two GCSEs, Nigel Farage has no A levels. Surely they have prospered but it beggars belief that two such ill qualified people should be spearheading a debate of such importance (Brexit)”

Politics aside and I wont make my thoughts on either Michelle or Nigel here, but what saddened me so much was this individuals completely partisan opinion that to be able to talk knowledgably about an issue this important warrants exam passes & a 1st from Oxford.

I don’t know who this commentator was, and I am really not that interested, but in 2018 really how important is the number of exam passes on your CV in relation to experience, knowledge and street smarts? The world is changing at such a fast pace now – trying to keep up with tax legislation, GDPR rules, the latest Iphone, Instagram, how to talk to my step daughter, the list goes on. The world is evolving at the fastest rate ever. And the same does go for education.

When we interview for new staff, long gone are the days of “I passed 8 O Grades” (children of the 70s will remember this) So what? Now its about adding value, where you spent a gap year, where you volunteer, your digital and your life skills.

Now I am not for one minute telling all 16 year olds to jack in school and leave because you don’t need an education. Far from it. I value job applicants that have core skills but how far do qualifications take you and where does experience, a savvy mind and general knowledge kick in and take over?

Richard Branson left school at 16 with zero qualifications and look where he ended up. Likewise Steve Jobs graduated high school, but dropped out of college and Michael Dell, founder of Dell computers (net worth £20 billion) also dropped out of Uni! But these guys are the exception to the rule.

In this day and age recruitment and finding the right person for the job is more about relevant experience, how you communicate, how you work in a team and intelligence. Is the ability to pass an exam the be all and end all?
Not everyone can handle the pressure of an exam room but can excel at political debate. One off day during your finals at University does not necessarily mean you have not fully understood the course and even excelled at your course work is that reason to write someone off as Not qualified enough for a political debate? Then there is the cost of education which is a conversation for another day.
So what makes someone qualified enough to speak on a panel on Question Time. It cannot be about degrees and exam passes. Surely it is about knowledge, passion and opinion on the political landscape? Someone who understands the topic, can debate it eloquently and knowledgeably and has some public presence? Business people who have been there, grafted hard and worked day in day out understand the impact of Brexit on friends family and employees, these are the people we should be listening to and not the elitist straight A Student with the Oxford degree.