在线词典,在线翻译

社会究竟需要多少研究生?

所属:成长励志 作者:webmaster 阅读:11218 次 评论:0 条 [我要评论]  [+我要收藏]

最近兴起的文本语音视频把镜头对准了许多不幸的美国年轻人。在美国,年轻人就业率比整个国家的普遍就业率糟糕很多,越来越多的年轻人开始选择就读研究生院,掀起了一股“研究生热”。他们这样做,是为了提升职业前景,并完成他们求知的梦想,或只是纯粹想逃离这严酷的现实,暂时告别这持续好几年的经济衰退状况。显而易见,对相当一部分的学生来说,眼下的这股热潮并不能给他们一个美满的结局。
The recent fad of text-to-speech videos has placed its crosshairs on the unfortunate case of many young Americans who — facing a much higher unemployment rate than the nation as a whole — have turned to graduate school in record numbers. They typically do so to improve their job prospects, fulfill their intellectual fantasies, or simply escape the harsh reality of a depressed economy for another few years. It is clear that this trend cannot end happily for a large number of these students.
专家们有时候会承认,太多人为了不必要的进修而花费了大量金钱。然而进修深造已经成为一股潮流,即使学术界的泡沫式繁荣已经著称于世,但对这个行业分配的人力和物力仍然是庞大得令人难以置信。虽然距离整个行业的崩溃可能还很遥远,但已经有些人被这个过热的市场“灼伤”,生活受到了影响,证明整个行业已经在扭曲变形之中。
Experts have for some time been acknowledging that too many people are paying too much for schooling they don't need. But the machinery is in motion, and, even though the bubble in academia is well-known, personnel and resources are still being directed toward it at an incredible rate. And while the collapse of the industry may itself be relatively distant, its distortions are already evidenced in the lives of those who are getting burned by the overheated market.
有段视频记录了一个应试法学院的学生和一个律师之间的争论,这个申请的姑娘还很天真无邪,但另外一个长期浸淫在法律界的老手可是愤世嫉俗的。年轻的姑娘只知道她喜欢法律,热切地渴望从事律师这一行业,从宪政法学家到保护公众利益的辩护工作(注:这两个工作通常在法学界无甚前途),她都愿意去做。而那个意气消沉的律师,说话的声音听起来也是挫败感十足、他对姑娘的回答是,今后这个年轻姑娘将和他一样,用上二十年时间来还助学贷款,厌恶自己的工作,忙得连见自己孩子的时间也几乎没有——顺便一提,她的孩子很有可能因此而染上毒瘾或走上犯法的道路。
One video pits an innocent, wide-eyed law-school candidate against a cynical veteran of the field. The young woman just knows that she will love it, and has aspirations of doing everything from constitutional law to pro bono defense work. The depressed (and defeated-sounding) lawyer responds that, like him, this young woman will spend 20 years paying off student-loan debt, hate her job, and will hardly ever see her kids — who by the way will likely be drug addicts or in prison.
另外两个更近期的视频,聚焦在人文学科中负债风险相对比较少的领域。第一个视频是常见的对于研究生院和学术生活的抱怨:微薄的收入,博士生获得稳定的长期工作比例很低,生活总是看不到出路,为在一些鲜为人知的期刊上发表没人会看的论文长时间的工作,疲惫不堪的同事和心不在焉的学生,与其他四个人挤一个办公室等,不一而足。这些对学术界的戏弄是老掉牙的了,但由于它们触及了一个真实的现象,所以仍然切中要害:想成为一个学者不但颇有难度,而且风险不少。对于真正实现了这个梦想的人而言,他们的人生会得到丰厚的报酬;但这样的幸运儿其实是百里挑一的。对于那些没那么幸运的人来说,一路走来做出了艰苦的努力,也付出了许多的代价,而梦想的实现却似遥遥无期,不得不更令人沮丧。有些人中途就被折磨得心力交瘁、黯然退出;对于他们来说,那些仍然怀有理想主义的研究生,那些只懂得把职业幻想成一堆概念的人们,看起来是那么愚蠢和幼稚。
Two more recent videos focus on the less-highly leveraged field of the humanities. The first video pulls out all of the usual complaints about graduate school and the academic life: the low pay, the low rate of PhDs securing tenure-track jobs, having to live in the middle of nowhere, working long hours to publish in obscure journals that no one will read, jaded colleagues and uncaring students, sharing an office with four others, etc.The jokes are well worn, but they remain relevant because they touch on a real phenomenon: trying to become a scholar is a difficult and risky path. There are great rewards for those who make it, but the ones who do seem to be the lucky few indeed. For those on the other side, the uncertainty of success makes the costs and sacrifices all the more daunting. And, for those who have been chewed up and spit out by the process, it makes the idealistic college graduate who fancies a career in ideas look foolish and naive.
然而,由于当初的高期望值带来的失望,却绝不意味着研究生院不值得一读。一个针对上述视频的回应讽刺了它悲观阴暗的论调,指出它“很可能是一些申请者故意录制的,目的是为了减少他们所要申请院系的竞争对手”。这个视频着重描绘了研究生生活积极向上的一面:学生们只需要做自己热爱的事情就能得到报酬;学校放假时就出门旅游;他们追求的职业目标通常都不能仅用金钱去衡量,而是具有更远大的意义。
But the disappointment of high expectations in no way implies that graduate school isn't worth it. A response video lampoons the gloomy outlook of the first, noting that it was "probably made by people who are hoping to limit the application pool to the places where they are planning to apply." It emphasizes the sunny side of grad-student life: that students often get paid simply to do what they love, travel on the school's dime, and in general pursue a calling whose reward cannot be adequately expressed in terms of money.
为了证明机遇正等待着如今的博士生们,这段视频里发言的教授还引用了约翰.亚当斯的话:“我必须学习政治和战争,那么我的儿子可能就有学习数学和哲学的自由。我的儿子必须学习数学哲、地理、自然历史、造船工程、航海、商业以及农业,从而让我儿子的儿子获得学习绘画、诗歌、音乐、建筑、雕塑、刺绣和做瓷器的权利。”
In addition to praising the opportunities afforded to modern PhD students, the professor in the video cites John Adams, who said,I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
“你认识到了吗?”教授引用了这段话以后说:“对于亚当斯来说,学习艺术史这一类的学科,是对人的特别优待,是几代人不息奋斗、无私奉献的结果;难道这并不是一个可以真正称得上崇高的职业吗?”他所说的的确是易被忽略的事实:“高度发展的文化与文明里,总是能为钻研伟大思想的人腾出空间。学术研究这种沉思的人生,并不只是先辈们的艰苦努力所换来的奢侈梦想;它同时也是人类政治生活中了不起的成就。在一个让年轻成员拥有职业选择机会的社会里,在这样一个职业领域中出现竞争异常激烈的状况,难道会是件奇怪的事情吗?”那么,如果说还有什么问题,就可以简化为经济核算了。我在上文提到,最近几十年来,提供给大学教职员工的资源是过剩的。我认为,几乎所有的高等教育机构,都在经济繁荣期过度扩张,要么就必须在经济衰退期精简机构,要么就是强迫公众为他们错误的进修决策买单。
"Do you realize," the professor continues, "that the privilege of studying something like art history is, according to Adams, the result of the sacrifice and toil of generations, and that it is a high calling indeed?" And this is a truth that is often overlooked: high culture and civilization have always had a place for some to study the great ideas. The contemplative life is not only a luxury purchased by the hard work of previous generations but also a crowning achievement of the political life of man. Is it any wonder that such a field would be highly competitive in a society that affords its young members a choice of vocation?The problem, then — if there is one — boils down to the issue of economic calculation. I've written previously about the overabundance of resources that in recent decades were directed to university faculty and staff positions. There I argued that institutions of higher learning, nearly all of which overexpanded during the boom years, must either downsize in the recession or force the public to pay for their poor decision making.
对研究生课程相对价值的辩论,也集中在同一个问题上:经济繁荣期金钱大量地涌入了扩招的研究生课程,然而这些课程却没有因为经济衰退而相应精简。在经济泡沫已然破裂的时候,各大学仍然源源不断地大量输出博士毕业生,而后果就是相应地等待学者们的工作职位越来越显得僧多粥少。工作职位的短缺,加上经济衰退期申请就读研究院的人数增加,导致录取过程充满了激烈的竞争;而这样的竞争仅仅为争取一个机会,迈入一个饱和行业的门槛。最糟糕的是,学术工作的就业市场,尽管看起来已经够死气沉沉,由于政府支持的学生贷款行业对此火上浇油,仍然充满了泡沫。这些市场泡沫迟早有破裂的一天,到时本来就所剩无几的就业机会又会流失大半。公共资金的投入,本意是要促进那些崇高职业的发展,讽刺的是,效果却恰恰相反。倘若我的评论像是在对学术界的赞扬与抨击中摇摆不定(并预测了它注定失败),原因在于我认为后两个视频都是言之有理的,从不同的角度阐释了同一个问题。一方面来说,像哲学、文学、艺术和其他一些被称为“无用”的崇高职业,否认它们的价值是愚不可及的事。无论何时可地,每当一个文明繁荣之时,有钱人和特权阶级总会醉心于这些带来极大满足的活动。而当一个社会里越来越多的人享受着高水平的物质生活,我们就有充分理由相信,会有相当一部分人沉浸在这些抽象的、需要智慧的行业里,为此努力奋斗。另一方面,我们不该存在这样的推断,认为我们目前的社会和智慧的乐园间唯一的障碍,只是意志力量的缺乏或公共资助的不足。教育如今已经成了前所未有的巨大产业,这得归咎于仍未破裂的教育产业泡沫现象,而这产业管理失当的现象比比皆是。在自由市场经济条件下,缺乏与顾客需求的紧密联系,教育资源的浪费是不可避免的。我们应该有更多的博士研究生,还是更少呢?是投资过剩、研究生课程过多;亦或投资不足、课程太少?类似这些问题是很值得我们思考的。如果我们能够运用自然的盈亏法则,我们就可以更简单直接地找到正确的答案。为最崇高的事业追求估量一个价格,是绝少有人会赞赏的。然而,除非社会的发达已经到这样一个水平:物质条件的丰富,能允许大量的人采取随心所欲的生活方式。否则,教育的成本就是我们无法回避的现实,一旦忽视了它,后果将不堪设想。
The debate over the relative worth of graduate programs concerns the same problem: money in the boom years flowed into new or expanding graduate programs, most of which have not contracted in response to the recession. Universities are continuing to produce PhDs at a boom rate during a bust era. The result is a vast overproduction of academics relative to the number of jobs that await them on the other side. This shortage of jobs, combined with the recession phenomenon of increased applications to schools, has resulted in a highly competitive admissions process for the mere chance to enter an already-crowded field.And worst of all, the academic job market — anemic though it may appear to be — is still in its bubble phase, fueled by the state-backed student-loan industry. When that market collapses, as it must sooner or later, with it will go many of what few opportunities remain. The public funding that was meant to encourage nobler callings will, ironically, be the undoing of it all.If I appear to be oscillating between praising academia and deprecating it (and predicting its doom), that is because I think that both of the videos are correct — each in its own way. On the one hand, it would be foolish to deny the value in high callings such as philosophy, literature, art, and other allegedly "useless" vocations. Whenever and wherever civilization has flourished, the wealthy and privileged have indulged in these very activities with great satisfaction. And in a society where ever-increasing numbers of people enjoy a high level of material well-being, we have every reason to believe that large numbers of people will be drawn to these abstract, intellectual efforts.On the other hand, we cannot suppose that the only thing standing between us and an intellectual's paradise is a lack of will power or a dearth of public grants. Education is a bigger industry now than it ever has been — thanks to a bubble that has yet to burst — and yet so much of it is mismanaged. Without a solid connection to the desires of consumers in a liberal market economy, this waste is inevitable.Should we have more PhD students? Fewer? Are there too many programs with too much funding — or too few with too little funding? These questions, and others like them, are important to ask. Finding the right answers, however, is a process that would be much simpler and more straightforward if natural profit-and-loss mechanisms were allowed to operate.Few relish the idea of putting a price on the noblest of pursuits, but until we reach a point where the abundance of material goods permits an abundance of carefree lifestyles, the cost of education is a reality we cannot afford to ignore.
标签:社会 研究生
93
2010-12-02 23:03 编辑:kuaileyingyu
分享到:
关注海词微博:
发表评论:
表达一些您的想法吧!已有0条评论>>
登录,再发表评论
文明上网,理性发言!
您可能还感兴趣的文章:
>>精华推荐阅读
热门评论文章