Phd - A Waste of Time? REALLY?

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Phd - A Waste of Time? REALLY?

Postby Ganesha » Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:32 pm

We as Nepalis do not have a high regard for Phds (and teachers or professors) in our country (unless of course if it is an MBBS). And in ignorance, we also suffer from material poverty so naturally people are judged with how much money one has rather than his intellgence or knowledge. "Fair" I thought given the state of the country. But think of the shock when I found that people in the West feel the same, (in a much diginified way than us Nepalis but low regard nonetheless).

I was shocked to know that in a rich country like Canada,
... 80% of postdocs earn $38,600 or less per year before tax—the average salary of a construction worker.
And this is postdoc, not Phd. Think of the wasted years!

It does not look any good for the only superpower in the South as
only 57% of doctoral students will have a PhD ten years after their first date of enrolment.
And the reason the article cites is
Research at one American university found that those who finish are no cleverer than those who do not. Poor supervision, bad job prospects or lack of money cause them to run out of steam.
That much for the superpower.

Europe does not fair any better. The top gun Germany too has its problems as reflected by these statements.
... About one-third of Austria’s PhD graduates take jobs unrelated to their degrees. In Germany 13% of all PhD graduates end up in lowly occupations. In the Netherlands the proportion is 21%.

So how much will you earn more after doing your Phd and what is the difference to your bank balance if you had joined the workforce as a Master's student rather than having spent five years in a Phd? Here is the bleak answer.
...The earnings premium for a PhD is 26%. But the premium for a master’s degree, which can be accomplished in as little as one year, is almost as high, at 23%.

And the one that touched me the most was this one.
...Writing lab reports, giving academic presentations and conducting six-month literature reviews can be surprisingly unhelpful in a world where technical knowledge has to be assimilated quickly and presented simply to a wide audience.

Having read the article in full, am having some not so good thoughts. Care to clear a few? - nepali forum

Posts: 978
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:55 am

Re: Phd - A Waste of Time? REALLY?

Postby kazi » Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:12 am

Do you remember the time when we were kids and our grandmother would say, "Babu, uu yo dai jasto hunu parchha.. ko thaha chha? engineer ho.." Years later I became an engineer only to realize that there is no job prospect.. their is no pay.. at least not a decent one. It was a big shock. I realized that education is just a tool, it is not an achievement. And I think that is the truth of today and that's the bottom line.

The essence of PhD originally was that the degree holder has created something new and added to the wealth of human knowledge. Today the degree means that the holder is good at research, as in re-search. It is a degradation of the original intent, but it is still respectable because research is the first step towards creativity. Even Newton said that if he has achieved something it is on the shoulders of giants. And rarely is there anyone as creative as Newton.

PhD is never a waste of time individually. It is a choice to become a researcher.. to choice to revel in the midst of keen minds. Of course every coin has two sides: as with everything else politics has taken strong hold of the education system, which is only a natural consequence of human evolution. There are dark aspects of higher education as with any other aspect of human endeavor.

However, PhD can be considered a waste of time financially. But again, philosophically, what has PhD got anything to do with time and money?
"Mother and motherland are more precious than heaven." But that does not mean we must cling to our mothers. The least I can do for Nepal is to bring awareness among the Nepali people. And this Nepali forum is the platform for me.

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