William Ilgen: Beyond UNC

November 17, 2012 

Beyond UNC

The UNC Advisory Committee on Strategic Decisions faces a far greater challenge than that posed by the headline of your “Jobs or knowledge?” article Nov. 11. The choice is not between Aristotle or aerospace engineering. Biotech or British lit. The one does not exclude the other.

Ultimately, the broader goal of an education should be the development of an informed and highly skilled citizenry. However, we need to abandon the questionable notion that this goal can be accomplished only at a university. Not everyone is suited for, or interested in, a university education. Many potential students would be better served by developing their particular talents and career pursuits in other venues, venues that should be equally valued, funded, and supported by society.

The future of this country lies in the ability of all its citizens to face the coming challenges with great wisdom and consummate skill. For that, we need a comprehensive educational system that relentlessly promotes the twin goals of attaining knowledge and acquiring skills in preparation for life and what may ultimately be several careers.

William Ilgen

Chapel Hill

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