By Gary Wixom
Assistant Commissioner for Career and Technical Education
Utah System of Higher Education
Every year during the fall, educators from Utah gather in a meeting room to discuss and consider the question “What is an educated person?” Those in the room are not really confused about what an educated person really is, but in defining and considering the topic, educators can make progress in learning how to educate others.
We usually think of education as a process that we go through and at the end we receive a certificate or degree. But education is much more than a piece of paper detailing competencies that we have learned. The philosophers tell us that education is the process of learning about life, and that without education and “truth” we are not really free.
According to Tony McGregor 1, an educated person has some of the following characteristics.
- An educated person has empathy and understanding of other people.
- An educated person is sensitive to the needs of others.
- An educated person has a clear understanding of their own values, wants,
and preferences without imposing them on others.
- An educated person is independent and takes responsibility for their own actions.
- An educated person connects and interacts with the world around them.
- An educated person is comfortable with who they are, their own feelings and the feelings of others.
Along with the educated person’s characteristics, an individual needs good technical and employability skills. Employability skills are often referred to as “soft” skills and include things like a positive attitude, understanding how to work hard, being able to communicate well with others, being able to work together with others in solving problems, basic computing skills and showing up on time. These skills along with good technical skills are what make a person prepared for a productive future.
Career and Technical Education programs are designed to help individuals gain these skills and move students along the path to becoming educated. As we look to a new year, take a look at the great opportunities that are available through Career and Technical Education programs at your institution. The doors of the future will open for those who are “educated”. Make sure that you are prepared for that future.