|Albert Einstein (c1947).
Image source: US Library of Congress.
I think McWilliams here is a little bit guilty of regducing third-level education to simply being an exercise in garnering a blessing from a university or college in the guise of a credential on a piece of parchment. Of course we all (including McWilliams) know that it is much more than that. But he may have some argument in questioning the need for credentials in the modern world. Technology it seems is making this "yesterday's idea".
Technology has changed everything - or has it? Was it not always thus? Josiah F. Bumstead, writing in the book "The Black Board in the Primary School: A Manual for Teachers" in 1841 recalls asking a Clergyman on a school committee if the school had a blackboard. "No" replied the clergyman, "it is of no use to get them. If we had blackboards, we have no teachers to use them to advantage". Bumstead was of course astonished at this (so he wrote the book) - 175 years later we should be equally astonished if our teachers and students could not use technology to advantage. What will the David McWilliams' of this world be writing about in another 175 years?
In the same newspaper, Irene Falvey writes that her "arts degree has served me very well". Her degree was part of her path to lots of reading, travel, working broad, and getting a job related to her degree. Now that's more like it!