I think the last recession really hit education the hardest. When it first hit, governments were funding programs to send people to school for "second careers" and encouraging them to upgrade. Here, if you want to get a job making decent money, the bachelors degree might give you an edge, but if you want the competitive edge you go get your masters. Colleges have jumped on this with diploma upgrades. Once you finish your degree, you register in a diploma course and sink more money into it and that gets you into a specialized field. Only problem is that these fields aren't going anywhere. People are so scared to lose their jobs, they don't want to retire. The teaching market is so bad now because retired teachers are returning to supply teach, leaving recently graduated teachers to find jobs elsewhere.
On the flipside, I got tired of slaving at a desk with a bank so I decided to take the job I wanted to do and turn it into my own business. Don't know how successful it's going to be, but it'll pay some bills for the next couple months. The company I'm working with is specializes in a type of message and they run a school. They're making money because the RMTs who can afford to upgrade these courses want to add to their skills to have a competitive edge. Upgrading your skills has become the best thing to do during this recession. Unfortunately, it's now an industry and it's not getting any cheaper.
People are starting to look at degrees differently though. When I worked at the bank, I started to regret my degree because it wasn't doing anything for me. I made the mistake of thinking "I have a degree, I'm entitled to a good job." In reality, I have a degree, so I'm going to take the skills I've learned from it and go apply it in a way that I can make work for me.