"It is only the ignorant who despise education" - Publilius Syrus, Moral Sayings, first century B.C.E.
As quoted in Awake! of March 8, 1998
The special September 2006 issue of Awake!, entitled "Is There a CREATOR", exposes, perhaps unwittingly, one of the dilemmas with respect to the current tightening position with respect to education. (For more on the history of this issue, please see my post "Jehovah's Witnesses and Education - A Brief History" here: http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/10/98701/1.ashx)
On pages 21-23 of this Awake!, there can be found an article entitled "Why We Believe in a CREATOR." In this article, 5 different Jehovah's Witnesses are interviewed as to why they personally believe in the existence of a Creator.
The first point that may jump out at the thinking reader is that it happened to be five highly-educated Witnesses who were selected to be interviewed. While their specific educational credentials are not listed, it seems safe to assume that individuals actively working in the fields of genetic mutation in plants, laser physics, planetary geology, molecular biology and microbiology, and theoretical physics--and for the employers listed--are the possesors of college degrees, possibly even advanced degrees. At the very least, it could be considered a badge of honor within the Witness community to be directly quoted in an issue of Awake!, particularly a special issue such as this one. At least in this instance, a quality education led to this privilege.
But it seems to me that there is another underlying issue that should be mentioned. Some time back, speaking to a group of assembled elders, a senior Bethel representative went to great pains to explain that the Society was not anti-education. He clarified that individuals could take trade courses, technical courses, all manner of things to pick up skills. However, the Society seemed to take the position that it was the process of obtaining "a four-year degree," with all of the associated general education and other requirements, that should be considered undesirable. (See paragraph 6 of the article " Parents—What Future Do You Want for Your Children?" in the 10/01/05 issue of The Watchtower)
The "credibility dilemma," however, is that in many fields it is precisely the acquisition of such a degree that makes one employable, that opens the door to opportunities in the field.
In this Awake! issue, there isn't one carpenter, janitor, truck driver, landscape maintenance technician, or similar included in the article referenced above. Why? Because they lack the credibility needed to make the point the article wished to make. And it's not necessarily a matter of intelligence, or understanding. It's a matter of credibility. For example, it is entirely possibly that there is a brillant truck driver among Jehovah's Witnesses. This man (or woman) may have a keen mind, a fascination with the question at hand, may have done extensive personal reading, and be quite able to converse eloquently on the topic.
But, for the goal the article was trying to accomplish, and the target audience it was attempting to reach, such a person would simply not have had the necessary credibility.
If the writers of Awake! felt they needed a level of credibility to reach their target audience, why ask a young person to invest the time taking courses to develop a skill, but not follow it through to the extent of obtaining the very thing necessary to be credible to their target audience?