Posted by Big John on August 21, 2007
One thing that I used to regret was not having had a university education; that is until later in life when I encountered a number of ‘academic morons’ in the course of my work, and many very bright people with qualifications which were completely useless to them when it came to earning a living.
When I finished my formal education in 1955 at the age of sixteen, very few working class young people went on to university, unlike today when political priorities mean big increases in the numbers of students in higher education, and ‘dumbing down’ of standards means that it is almost impossible to fail the qualifying examinations.
OK, so I never got to punt on the Camb or ride a bike through the streets of Oxford with my books in a basket on the front, and I’ll never know what it would have been like to be an archaeologist or an architect, and anyway if I had managed to make it to some ‘red brick’ college I’d have probably ended up shaking test tubes in a laboratory or shuffling papers in some government department for a living; unlike today’s students who can study at ‘uni’ (as they insist on calling it) so called ‘non-courses’ which, we are told, will prepare them for employment after leaving ‘the halls of academia’.
Here are just a few of the 401 courses which have been identified at British universities and have been described as being ‘light weight’ and of little or no academic merit.
Science fiction and culture
Specialist make-up design
Martial arts and adventure tourism.
Outdoor adventure and philosophy.
I suspect that at the end of such ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses (which cost the tax payer £40 million pounds a year) graduates pick up their diplomas in a hallway from a box marked … ‘1st class degrees. Please take one’.
At the start of the TV show ‘University Challenge’ the contestants state their names and disciplines such as … “Dick Knowitall, reading history” or “Daisy Cleverglogs, reading physics” .. at the end of which I have been known to chip in with a not very funny … “and Big John reading comics”…
… Perhaps I can become a ‘mature student’ ?