Qualifications are Overrated

by Craig Smith, Home Education Foundation

Home educated individuals (home schoolers) have found that higher school certificates such as School Cert, 6th Form Cert, Bursary are not really necessary for getting into tertiary institutions or a good job. We generally go for the Provisional Enrolment option at universities. This is a discretionary call by the Admissions Officer. The student presents a portfolio of the kind of work done, examples of essays written, work and character references, etc. The student markets him or her self to the Admissions Officer via the interview. A favourable interview, an impressive portfolio, and the means to pay the fees seem to do the job.

Rather than hope that their exam scores, among thousands of others, will market them to the tertiary institution of their choice, home educated students take the task into their own hands and market themselves directly, face to face, with the real gatekeepers of these institutions: the admissions officers.

A NZ Herald article by Bronwyn Sell of 24 April 2000, said: “More and more employers were acknowledging the need to educate sensitive, creative and socially minded citizens. A survey by Colmar Brunton Research found that employers rated a number of items ahead of qualifications.

The list, in descending order of importance is:

Work as part of a team
Employment history
Work-related skills
Experience in industry
Previous training
and finally, Qualifications.”

And of course we all know that a young person’s first job and often the best jobs have always been acquired through one’s own network of contacts: the disgusting “old boys network” you hear tell about.

The bottom line is, one does not need paper qualifications to get into tertiary institutions or to land a good job. Paper school leaving qualifications are entirely overrated.