Let me first say that I am not an economist. However, I was having a discussion with one of my friends who claimed that he had absolutely no gain from his education other than it actually being the ticket for him to get a job. He argued that he hardly ever used any of the stuff he had learned during his education. So while it was a formel requirement for him to have some kind of education to gain entry at the firm where he is currently working, he sincerely believed that his education did not make him a better worker in any way.
I must admit I was a bit offended. I love my own job and I maybe also have some idealistic notions on behalf of education that it can both make us better as humans as well as help us work in better ways. However, I think that what most annoyed me was that I could see he had point and still felt that economists must have some kind of counter argument against this notion that education is basically valueless. So my question is:
Do there exist in economics a serious discussion along these lines?
and furthermore, if that is the case,
What are the main arguments on behalf of those arguing that education certainly has its economic merits?