Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Dumbing up, nailing down.

Sinister developments in British higher education: 70-odd of 104 universities (my God, we have 104 universities?  We ARE bright!) have signed up to a scheme that, according to BBC Radio 4, is intended to replace simple degrees over time. This will be an end of course report, written by the institution - of which the degree result will be a part - that details 'other activities' such as volunteering, club and society membership, sporting achievements, roles in the student union and so on.
Designed to "benefit employers, and above all students" (note the order, not the emphasis), in my view this is the logical extension of the patronising and utilitarian straitjacket that increasingly passes for education lower down the brain chain. On being asked rather neatly by the interviewer whether "part of student life is sitting and thinking, sometimes in pubs”, the man (it was 6.40am, I was cuddling my pillow, and I didn’t get his name) simply dodged the question.

If students, who are legally adults whether we like it or not, want to list, promote or fabricate their achievements, they have a mechanism called the curriculum vitae. Universities have no place in either writing it for them or, by so doing, making them mere cogs in a machine that we should continue to kid ourselves they may run one day.

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