For some time I have believed in making a clear distinction between the concepts of education vs. training. An education involves learning how to think. A training involves learning specific skills towards particular performances. One of the problems is that government funding often emphasizes the side of skills training in universities over and above the obtaining of an education. Governments want to make their institutions relevant. They seek to put money into training their population with skills that will be economically productive. However, by doing this they turn universities into degree factories. As long as you have taken courses in particular skills you will have deemed to have an education. Unfortunately, this is not true. You will not receive an education simply by taking skills based courses.
This author delves into the argument between education and training by examining the writing of the conservative author Michael Oakeshott. I agree with most of this viewpoint. The critical question has to do with how we foster the development of critical thinking and a true liberal arts education in a society where socialization and economic skills are valued over and above dissenting opinions and alternative perspectives. The question I want to raise personally is what opportunity does life in the city provide for the slow but ongoing effort to keep alive the ideal of lateral thinking, and analytical examination and reflection about the society and culture in which we live?