Same old, same old on university places

Another day, another article complaining that we have too many young people going to university. I’ll pick this one by Nicholas Stuart, not because it’s particularly good or bad, but because it covers all the main points. Then I’ll ask, the following question:

If you substitute the word “Menzies” for “Dawkins”, is there anything in the article that wasn’t being said 50 years ago, when the proportion of young people going to university was about a quarter of what it is now (that’s a guess, which I’ll try to correct when I get time)?

I’m reaching back to my childhood here,so I can’t remember when I first heard these points being raised. But the way in which they were discussed made it clear they were cliches even them. Those points include massification, dropout rates (higher then than now, I think) the large numbers of graduates doing jobs that didn’t require a degree (Arts graduates driving taxis was the standard example back then), the merits of getting a trade instead of a degree, the role of the university as part of the capitalist system and the corrupting effects of Commonwealth money.

62 thoughts on “Same old, same old on university places

  1. “Ernestine Gross has not confirmed that to be the meaning of ‘survive’ that she was using.”

    J-D, I won’t speak for Ernestine, but even a casual reader would note she opened with this:

    “I read the original article to which JQ refers and my comments relate to the original article.”

    Can you point to exactly where in the linked article it refers to ‘mortality’?

  2. GrueBleen

    I’m afraid I don’t understand the meaning of the assurance you’re requesting from me.

    Nick

    Can you point to exactly where in the linked article it refers to ‘surviving’?

  3. @J-D
    Your #52

    Well of course you don’t understand me, J-D. That has been the one constant factor of our alleged interlocution all along.

    But think hard about it, and apply the Sergeant Colon approach, and you may yet get it.

  4. “Can you point to exactly where in the linked article it refers to ‘surviving’?”

    Why yes J-D. I can. The article refers to “transmission of life skills”. The things that might help someone to “get along” in our complex society. The things, we can infer easily enough, were more or less the same things Ernestine and GrueBleen were talking about. A good understanding of contract law etc.

    Can you point to exactly where in the linked article it refers to ‘mortality’? Because I can’t for the life of me work out why you thought anyone was talking about “teaching children not to die” (don’t touch a hot stove, don’t run across the road, don’t pat a strange dog, be wary of strangers etc)

    It’s not that those two things are entirely disconnected – university is the place we teach people to be teachers at all education levels. And that might be an interesting side discussion to have.

    But don’t persist in pretending what Ernestine wrote is “nonsense”, just because you failed to read her properly. I agree with Ikon. I think you can do better than that.

  5. Nick :
    “Can you point to exactly where in the linked article it refers to ‘surviving’?”
    Why yes J-D. I can. The article refers to “transmission of life skills”. The things that might help someone to “get along” in our complex society. The things, we can infer easily enough, were more or less the same things Ernestine and GrueBleen were talking about. A good understanding of contract law etc.

    All knowledge whatsoever falls within the description ‘things that might help someone to “get along” in our complex society’. Many people ‘get along’ very well in our complex society without knowing anything about contract law; but it is true that a good understanding of contract law might help people to ‘get along’ in our complex society. The only way to transmit to people all the knowledge that might help them to ‘get along’ in our complex society would be to transmit all knowledge whatever, which is obviously impossible.

    If instead of setting up an absolute standard we ask ‘How well does our society do in transmitting to people the knowledge that might help them to “get along”?’, the answer is that results are variable. Some people are very well equipped to ‘get along’ in our society by the knowledge that is transmitted to them, while others are much less well so. Would the answer be any different for traditional societies? What’s the evidence?

  6. @J-D
    Your #54

    Ah, the closed mind closes the subject, thus is Samatha achieved.

    But of course, J-D, I have every desire that you should understand my meaning, but if I explain things to you evry time, when will you learn how to think for yourself ?

    However, to help your meditation, I will present to you a small example:

    Q: Would you like a drink of water ?
    A: It is 5:00 pm
    Q: What time is it ?
    A: Yes, a drink of water would be refreshing.

  7. @J-D
    Your #56 of 29 Aug

    In my #39 of 26 Aug, I quoted you as saying:

    “In many traditional societies the majority of children do not survive childhood.”

    Which you had stated in your #37 of 25 Aug.

    In reply to your assertion about “many traditional societies”, I replied: “Name them, and provide the statistics.”

    Now J-D, you simply ignored that earnest request for information to back up your wild claims. You didn’t even bother to acknowledge the question. And now, in your #56, you have the effrontery to ask of Nick “Where’s the evidence?” You, who never provide any evidence for anything you say, have the gall to ask another participant to provide evidence ? Oh, you devious little troll, J-D.

    Now isn’t this all a lot of fun ? Tell me, what do you do at home for entertainment, J-D ? Other than reading Terry Pratchett, that is.

  8. @GrueBleen

    If you have every desire that I should understand your meaning, then you’re not trying hard enough. Maybe this is because you have reached the limits of your capacity for explaining; I wouldn’t know.

    You may have offered your small example with the intention of helping my meditation, but it has failed to have that effect.

  9. @J-D
    Your #60

    Yes, J-D, sadly I do know that you don’t know as you have long since passed the limit of your understanding.

    My small example did help your meditation – I can tell these things – unfortunately you just can’t seem to rise to the challenge. Indeed you can’t seem to rise to any challenge, no matter how trivial. And you particularly can’t rise to a challenge for you to give actual evidence in support of your various throwaway assertions.

    Now, apart from that, how much Pratchett have you read and what was your favourite ? Personally, Pratchett came far too late for me. I kinda stopped with Roger Zelazny’s ‘Lord of Light’ – you’d know it well, of course.

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