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This is an era of information explosion when the literacy rate and higher education population have increased and the significance of academic qualifications declined, possessing techniques and skill become more valuable than possessing knowledge. But how do we know what is professional?

Certifications are untransparent bottles labeled with beautiful words, telling people what’s inside. The truth will be revealed as people open the lid. Whether one is a bottle of well-brewed wine, an empty bottle, or a bottle of poison depends on not only the students themselves but also the educators.

Schools lowered the threshold of admission and graduation, even though students were hardly capable of performing the tasks. Teachers let these future technicians pass the technical examinations and practices easily so that their parents won’t come and question the teacher why their children got flunk. Schools became a factory to produce technicians of poor qualities, stamping with “professionals”. Isn’t it unbelievable that people think the theoretical knowledge and skills is professional while thinking it is so effortlessly to be acquired?

You might not get kill if an unprofessional cook added the wrong spice into the dishes. However, it will be another story if you got distributed with wrong medicine by an unprofessional nurse or flying on a plane repaired by an unprofessional engineer. Luckily, except the designers themselves, the design industry, the related production industry and related market in the long term, unprofessional designers won’t get people hurt, will they?

For designers, skills and knowledge are indispensable but complement each other. Knowledge is not mere information, but integration, internalization and imagination to be absorbed, transformed and generated for design.

There are no shortcuts for only solid accumulation, and the development of skills takes time and practices. It is difficult to master a skill and technique before long. However, in a society which efficiency is everything, short-term programs and workshops squeeze the time of teaching and receiving, allowing students to learn certain skills in a short period of time. The gaps between learning and acquisition make the value of technical quality uneven.

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