These days many people (tens of thousands) throughout Europe are undergoing admission tests for one of the periodical and various competitions organized by the Commission other European institutions to select personnel, who will be hired within in a few years (for some dozen workers).
The stakes are high. As far as the benefith have been limited because of the crisis, salaries still remain very good, sometimes exceptionally high for public officials from the south or Eastern Europe. They say the ones for the north are a bit less competitive; nonetheless they are excellent jobs.
The first selection, the one for the tens of thousands of people, is done through quizzes. They show you a series of crooked lines and then they ask you what the order in the sixth figure of crooked lines should be. They have you do mathematical calculations based on trick questions, where not only is the operation complicated, but also the question is confusing; they ask you to demonstrate your ability to interpret text via multiple choice answers. We are not bean counting on a game show (one had to guess the number of beans in a jar) but close enough. They are all things of this nature that are needed to choose the bulk to get from thousands to hundreds. Up to this point it is not important what you know how to do, what you have studied during your life, but only if you do those things necessary to reduce the numbers from 1,000 to 10 or to 1.
We get to the paradox that you don’t need to use what you studied during your scholastic formation and at college, but even measuring what you know how to do is taken on a completely useless measuring scale. If I study Manzoni and at a competition exam I get an 8 (out of 10) and so the candidate who gets a 9 (even if I get a 5 and don’t pass the school exam) passes, I will always know something more than if I hadn’t yet studied Manzoni. If on the other hand I pass or I don’t pass the selection, in any case what I studied will never serve any purpose because there is no rule for a crooked line or a numerical series that I will apply in my job later or in subsequent education. I will study for months, sacrifice myself for months, practice for months to do something that doesn’t teach me anything (if not in itself specifically) and I will never need to use it.
To conclude from this that according to the EU education is useless would truly be a foolish provocation, but a reflection on the true ability of future officials and the method of measuring them should be done. At least so as to not throw away months of struggling for those who don’t qualify!