Knowledge and know-how. Znanie and umetnost. Is it just my imagination, or does the world conspire against the possession of both by one individual? It’s as if embarking on one path forever closes the other, or at least makes it significantly more of a logistical challenge. Programs of instruction that can be described as professional, technical or vocational tend to be scheduled very tightly, not only with little to no room for electives, but with a highly structured first year curriculum, second year curriculum, etc. An examination of almost any college catalog will reveal that in the majors that are also job titles, the prerequisites and co-requisites are stacked up so that the prescribed curriculum for a given semester is a package deal. All or nothing; emphatically not pick-and-choose. The instrumental (by which I mean education-as-a-means-to-an-end) programs also tend to have a “cohort culture,” often enforced through academic policy, that keeps “cohorts” in sync—the people with whom you did your first year are supposed the same people in your graduating class. I can imagine a number of reasons why it may be that the deck is being stacked in this particular way:
- Enculturation, as in, the central purpose of the curriculum is not know-how, but molding of the personality to the occupation’s culture.
- Curriculum contains proprietary information. Knowledge with an arbitrary shelf life, like certification in a certain version of a certain computing platform.
- Maybe certain combinations of competencies are actually feared. Divide and conquer?
- Credentialism and guild mentality.
- Keeping the arts and sciences economically dependent.
One thing that would be nice to see in the creation of alternative education projects (p2pu, Wikibooks and the like) is deliberate attempts to break down the walls between theory and practice, with maybe a little raiding (or reverse engineering) of the latter’s silos.