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HIGHER EDUCATION AND THE REAL WORLD May 23, 2014

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Democracy, Social Environment.
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On PM, Christopher Pyne waxed lyrical on the educational possibilities of fee deregulation:

The reforms will encourage higher education institutions to compete for students, when higher education institutions compete for students, students win. Students win through an improved range of choices of courses that meet their needs and that offer them qualifications that will get them a job.

An example of the Education Minister and, to be fair, the Government making evidence free assertions not supported, it would appear, by American, or for that matter Australian experience. Different age cohorts here have experienced different higher educational environments so that might be as relevant and interesting as overseas comparisons.

Interesting to note that there is no mention of Oxbridge, Southampton or Edinburgh, let alone Paris or Bologna (in their medieval forms). Just more evidence that we have moved on to wherever Mr Pyne is taking us along the higher education path before the Senate as the gatekeepers have the final word. Public policy review might provide the most rigorous test our university product has ever had with nothing to do with getting a job.

In the brave new world of free market university we might get:

People sometimes have to jump through hoops to attend the university of there choice:

Interesting response from commentator, Jaw Ji:

University really prepared me for work. At university I (and most of my class) worked 18-20 hours a day, every day of the week (averaging about 135 hours a week).
Now I work two full time jobs and feel like I’m on a permanent holiday because it is so much easier than university, both in terms of hours and effort.

I don’t think drama is a worthwhile course though. It is one of the few degrees that will actually hold you back in work.

So maybe, instead of asking, what is the purpose of university we should ask what is the purpose of business:

At Harvard Business Review, Claudio Fernández-Aráoz argues:

Geopolitics, business, industries, and jobs are changing so rapidly that we can’t predict the competencies needed to succeed even a few years out. It is therefore imperative to identify and develop people with the highest potential. Look for those who have a strong motivation to excel in the pursuit of challenging goals, along with the humility to put the group ahead of individual needs; an insatiable curiosity that propels them to explore new ideas and avenues; keen insight that allows them to see connections where others don’t; a strong engagement with their work and the people around them; and the determination to overcome setbacks and obstacles. That doesn’t mean forgetting about factors like intelligence, experience, performance, and specific competencies, particularly the ones related to leadership. But hiring for potential and effectively retaining and developing those who have it—at every level of the organization—should now be your top priority.

A degree majoring in drama might be the very thing to have.

Luckily, none of this is required for our leading politicians. Joe Hockey’s lack of detailed familiarity with major aspects of the budget, suggests that the drafting and the ideas might well have been outsourced. Perhaps we should ask Senator Mathias Cormann.

Incompetence in this regard is not limited to the Treasurer, which at the very least suggests the budget measures, and the social engineering implied, had not been debated within the LNP. The process of constant electioneering, an effect of constant polling, tight message control, and top-down control evidenced by Tony Abbott’s flagging of tax cuts. Democratic engagement and conversation has undergone a train wreck in a two party monopoly, modified in Australia by the Senate and rare hung House of Reps.

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