Saturday, September 28, 2013

Some Common Sense, At Last (Updated)

For years, Adolf has questioned the wisdom of sending ever increasing numbers to university, to be funded by the state into degrees which, more often than not, do not qualify thee holder for any job other than making  hamburgers.

Going from memory, when Adolf graduated with a useful Agricultural commerce degree equivalent the national university student roll was about twenty to twenty-five thousand while the total population was somewhere around two and a half million.  By and large, people either qualified for entry to university by way of identifiable academic achievement; or took up an apprenticeship for five years; or entered the labour force as labourers.  A Batchelor's degree was a ticket to a useful job and good career prospects.

Today, we have a university, polytech student population of, I don't know, 150,000 to 200,000, churning out thousands of semiliterate unskilled oafs who  are proficient in what euphemistically are called 'the humanities.'

A Batchelor's degree today is a near worthless piece of paper while a Masters or PhD is required for any worthwhile job.

Yesterday, in the Australian, Adam  Creighton has something to say about this extraordinary waste  of public money.  Today Peter Van Onselen sums up the problem.

Schools need to deliver students who can adequately read, write and add up. If their skills of expression and grammar are sub-par, or they haven't built a framework for effective learning, thrusting such students on the university sector either sets them up to fail, or universities will lower standards to accommodate them.


Anonymous said...

Any degree is useful in Australia.
Ironically it doesn't have to be related to ones chosen profession.
Simply having any degree will affect your position on a short list.

Edward the Confessor said...

Yes, all those semiliterate oafs with "Batchelors" degrees. Semiliterate oafs.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Oh yeah? Don't you read the stories about graduates working at McDonalds?

Psycho Milt said...

To be fair, someone who has graduated from an NZ university with a degree in the "humanities," ie something in language, literature, classics, history or philosophy, will be very well able to read and write and will in many cases have developed excellent skills in understanding and presenting arguments. These are handy for a wide range of jobs, as Bob Jones has noted.

Unfortunately, few students do graduate in the humanities these days, instead opting for various flavours of Old Cobblers like business or media studies because they're easier and the kind of work you might do afterwards is more obvious. Worse, a great many opt for training in the misuse of statistics to serve political agendas, otherwise known as the social sciences.

Van Onselen is spot on, though. The goal of 40% of the population attending university was a simple recipe for lowered university standards because there wasn't any means of making 40% of the population capable of handling university-level education. As he says, a policy like that would really have to start with the schools, and what you might do to schools to get them capable of delivering university-ready high-school graduates in those numbers isn't obvious.

The Veteran said...

PM ... good post.