Too many people go to university

Universities occupy a crucial part of the economy as centres of learning. Yet not everyone should go to university and receive a degree. That statement is today controversial – the Government’s goal is to significantly increase the proportion of  students who receive a university education.

But if it is better that a higher percentage of the population receive a university education, then why stop at 30, 40 or 50 per cent? Why not aim for 100 per cent?

That would be ludicrous, and if one accepts that 100 per cent is too high, then one recognises that there must be some optimal maximum.

We know from research that the highest positive externaties in education may be found in primary and early secondary education (such as literacy). As one advances, the externalities shrink on average as the benefits of the education (especially tertiary) are internalised.

There is some level of education that is optimal for 100 per cent of the population to reach – this was previously considered the school certificate (year 10) or thereabouts. With the changing nature of our economy, there may be arguments that the optimal level is now a HSC (year 12) education for the majority of the population.

But it should always be recognised that there are opportunity costs associated with education. These include skills developed / honed in work, foregone wages, the distraction of teachers having to spend disproportional time on less able students, and the distraction to better students by less able students.

We also need to consider efficiency: we have people spending more time at schools and universities for effectively the same outcomes. Are we better having nurses, journalists, etc having university degrees? I think not – at least not for the work in which they are employed (there may be internalised benefits for the student undertaking the degree that are not work-related, or they might make the individual more flexible and marketable to different jobs).

I think we have too many people going to university in many western countries

The growth in student numbers has led also to the growth in the demand from university lecturers, especially in the easier disciplines such as the humanities (arts). This in turn is probably behind the significant growth in the public service to provide employment to these graduates. Whole departments and disciplines have grown around creating employment opportunities for these second-rate graduates – witness the climate change movement which manages to pump out the most boring and unoriginal nonsense seen in hundreds of years. The people working in the climate change industry could more productively be employed in a trade – after all, they can barely carry one abstract thought at a time.

So too for many of the lecturers / researchers in these disciplines, those such as gender studies, fat studies, postmodernism, film studies – and numerous other examples in arts faculties. These are mind sapping and useless piffle of increasingly esoteric subjects that need ever more academics specialising in these “fields”.

In my view the humanities should be cut back to  the core: fine arts, language and linguistics, ancient and medieval history.

The growth in the number of students going to university has led inexorably to the growth in the victim industry and a growth in the number of lawyers. It has led to a massive growth in the human rights industry – which has little to do with what most would consider human rights (such as free speech and freedom from detention and seizure).

As Ed Cooke stated when asked why he didn’t want to become a lawyer

I consider the law to be a zero-sum game, and therefore a pointless use of a life. Being good at being a lawyer means merely, on average, maximising injustice.

There is one common factor: employment for most of these graduates is in the public sector, directly or indirectly. In a free market, there would be fewer lawyers, fewer climate change scientists, fewer indigenous campaigners and so forth. Demand for these “services” has been boosted by the Government – either purchasing directly, or by subsidies / regulations that create an artificial demand. Think of all the people working (profiting, yes!) from working at NGOs /not-for-profit organisations. All the people working in international institutions. All this employment created because we have over educated people who think it beneath them to engage in hard labour. In short, the education industry has created demand for the ‘left-wing intellectual’ who is anything but intelligent, and who is pure consumer. A person who produces nothing of value.

Let’s restore universities to their rightful place in society: a place for elite education in difficult / complex and groundbreaking subjects.

About Samuel J

Samuel J has an economics background and is a part-time consultant
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146 Responses to Too many people go to university

  1. Lloyd

    Back in the 80s I questioned the value of a tertiary degree for nurses. But you have to witness what a truly competent ICU nurse does to appreciate the wisdom of making nursing a degreed course.
    Mind you, not all nursing positions require people with tertiary degrees.
    And I’m not at all convinced about other relatively recently created degrees for things like hospital administration or informatics as these vocations seem to be mainly bureaucratic in nature.

  2. ross

    i agree with your comment about universities giving out weeties packet degrees for non existent real jobs, however what makes you think these numbskull left wing dingalings could possibly take up a trade…not only do you have to physically work but you have to think for yourself too. something that a left wing dingaling cant do

  3. A Lurker

    I’m a big believer in on-the-job training and apprenticeships. I’m not just talking about trades, but most other jobs as well.

    I left school at the end of grade 12, and aside from a couple of short TAFE courses, the longest one comprising one year, everything I’ve learnt has been on the job, and I’ve worked in a couple of positions that now require tertiary qualifications.

    I suspect that most jobs out there don’t require degrees, and most could be more than adequately performed with on-site training, with perhaps a certificate course if necessary. With on-site training, you might not have someone hitting the ground running on the first day, but after a bit of time and effort, you will have an employee specifically trained to your specifications and with knowledge of the nuances of that job.

  4. Blogstrop

    But the numerous Faculties of Inconsequential Studies turn out the drones who tip the balance in favour of the PC left-green parties and populate the media, thereby pumping more nonsensical nostrums into the heads of ordinary voters hitherto unfamiliar with words like misogynist.

  5. Samuel J

    Ross

    not only do you have to physically work but you have to think for yourself too. something that a left wing dingaling cant do

    I don’t know – an appropriately harsh overseer can get quite effective results from shirkers.

  6. MT Isa Miner

    Lurker, I agree, most of the population is well suited to on the job training where they can see the relevance and apply instantly what they have learnt. Not to mention the pay packet they’d get- scaled of course.

    But since Dawkin turned the Teachers colleges into Uni’s , the rot set in and everyone had to pretend that without a UNI degree your life was worthless and your learning was worthless too.
    Miners can laugh when they pull in double a middle pulic servants wage but nothing stops cultural sneer of the public servant.

  7. Adam Diver

    Thinking practically what would be the options here to make changes? I am thinking the incoming Abbott government provide HECS for the purposeful university courses outlined above. Making people pay out of their hip pocket immediately for gender studies may change a few minds.

  8. Tintarella di Luna

    Making people pay out of their hip pocket immediately for gender studies may change a few minds.

    I worked for a firm of solicitors and one female solicitor employed had done ‘Wimmin studies” but knew nothing about making Will or conveyancing. It was a suburban practice-wasn’t long before she was in a job with the gubberment.

  9. Samuel J

    In the old days, people like Chuck Yeager could undertake incredibly complicated and dangerous tasks without a degree.

  10. Samuel J

    Speaking of Chuck Yeager, did you know that he celebrated the 65th anniversary of his pioneer flight to break the sound barrier by doing it again – 14 October 2012, the same day that Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier from his high altitude jump.

    See here

  11. conrad

    “The growth in the number of students going to university has led inexorably to the growth in the victim industry and a growth in the number of lawyers. It has led to a massive growth in the human rights industry – which has little to do with what most would consider human rights (such as free speech and freedom from detention and seizure).”

    And growth in the number of people that can’t understand the difference between correlation and causation to, it appears.

  12. Abu Chowdah

    What Chuck Yeager did was risky, but no more complicated than operating an X-Box. Plenty of utes do that without training.

  13. Samuel J

    I don’t know Abu – I think Yeager’s piloting of the Bell X-1 was much more complicated than writing this.

  14. entropy

    Lloyd, how do you know the degree creates a better ICU nurse than the former system? I would argue all the nursing degree did was create a cohort of sisters more interested in doing a range of activities better done by allied health professionals or doctors and much, much less interested in changing bed pans.

    On the other hand it gave an administrative path for career advancement for a segment of the sisterhood that should never have been nurses in the first place. Mind you they still get to annoy everyone else even there.

  15. Token

    I’m a big believer in on-the-job training and apprenticeships. I’m not just talking about trades, but most other jobs as well.

    Agreed.

    A good percentage of people would do better in life and be more entrepreneurial if they left tertiary education until after working for a number of years.

    I’ve worked to get a lot of people to a level of competence to do their job via formal & vocational training.

    People who start with real industry experience do better as they understand the subject matter and understand the importance of finding out who your customer is and meeting their needs.

    Where as people that live in the education / higher education bubble need to be taught commercial skills like customer service and too often believe the profession is about them, not about the solution provided.

  16. Token

    But you have to witness what a truly competent ICU nurse does to appreciate the wisdom of making nursing a degreed course.

    What percentage of nurses become ICU / CCU / Neurosurgical nurses? The vast majority work in areas when they can do their advanced levels of training once employed.

    Due to the competition for staff, the major public / private hospital organisation provide many levels of assistance to nurses to get qualified once they enter the profession.

  17. Token

    The growth in the number of students going to university has led inexorably to the growth in the victim industry and a growth in the number of lawyers. It has led to a massive growth in the human rights industry…

    It has also said to a large cadre of people who believe they are too good to do the un-sexy yet critical parts of the roles they are given.

    I prefer to work with someone who has worked their way up as they don’t belly-ache and therefoer see the benefits of productivity enhancements instead of naturally seeing a threat.

  18. Andrew

    These are mind sapping and useless piffle of increasingly esoteric subjects that need ever more academics specialising in these “fields”.

    This concept doesn’t just start at University. It starts at secondary school and some would say even primary school.

    You know your primary school has gone down the drain when they are making house work/chores and playing board games with your family count as homework at primary school. As a result, there is a smaller emphasis on Maths and English.

  19. The growth in the number of students going to university has led inexorably to the growth in the victim industry and a growth in the number of lawyers. It has led to a massive growth in the human rights industry – which has little to do with what most would consider human rights (such as free speech and freedom from detention and seizure)…. There is one common factor: employment for most of these graduates is in the public sector, directly or indirectly.

    Is there any evidence for this?

    I know that the amount of students who participate in student politics and vote in student elections is a ridiculously low proportion of the overall student population of a university – I’d be inclined to think that a similarly low portion of students from uni go on to work in the ‘victim industry’.

  20. Labor (and to a lesser extent the Liberals) see the universities as vocational factories, which has led to a depressing decline in one of the great traditional western institutions of study and learning. I agree that we should have far more apprenticeships and people learning on the job. A pity universities don’t seem to have any way of avoiding the whims of education ministers.

  21. Token

    Labor (and to a lesser extent the Liberals) see the universities as vocational factories,

    They also delay entry into the workforce, which is good when there was a smaller cohort which could achieve greater income.

    Now, with such a great number going throw it, it induces the percentage people who are not naturally academic to delay entry into the workforce.

  22. Paul

    Are we having better nurses?

    Damn right we aren’t. Never been so poorly trained as now.

  23. Paul

    “But you have to witness what a truly competent ICU nurse does to appreciate the wisdom of making nursing a degree course.”

    There were plenty of truly competent ICU Nurses out there before Nursing became a degree course. What a stupid, self-serving statement. There are also plenty of incompetent fools being passed at Uni because no-one wants the responsibility of dealing with them when they should fail. Too many complaints of discrimination, lack of support etc etc. Too many avenues made available for blame and counter-accusation so no-one bothers going there and incompetent fools just get passed. Even worse when the student identifies as “indigenous”. That ones a minefield no-one will touch, so they just pass them for convenience, and out they go into the workforce with no idea what they are doing but a certainty that they are allowed to do it without challenge or accountability. Don’t give me that crap about Uni training of Nurses being somehow superior. Its a joke.

  24. Token

    “But you have to witness what a truly competent ICU nurse does to appreciate the wisdom of making nursing a degree course.”

    I repeat, what percentage of nurses work in the end of the professionl that demands a high level of specialised training?

    Hint, it is a minority…

    That ones a minefield no-one will touch, so they just pass them for convenience, and out they go into the workforce with no idea what they are doing but a certainty that they are allowed to do it without challenge or accountability.

    In the corporate world those types usually end up in HR where they can do as little harm as possible.

    Does that answer why we have so many victims being found by HR departments?

  25. .

    Too many people go to TAFE.

    Abolish the Industry Skills Councils. Abolish the AQF.

    TAFE, through nationally recognised training, has ruined education in Australia.

    They are just not unresponsive and stuck in the 1950s. They monopolise educational policy to the point where everything gets dumbed down for the dumbest bloke doing a mandatory course for work.

    This is of course supported for the unions. Pointless qualifications for everything!

    There is no skills crisis. There is a crisis of excessive occupational licensing.

    If university lecturers all knew how TAFE had ruined their institutions, they’d vomit in terror.

    Plus all of the useless wankers in the NSSC and ACPET etc.

    The only good ones are in NCVER. What do they say?

    TAFE is a dinosaur and firms don’t even like using nationally recognised training because it is expensive and irrelevant.

    The AQF means this rank stupidity applies to universities and high schools.

  26. .

    DRIVEL

    PURE FUCKING DRIVEL

    I CAN CUT MY HAIR WITH A PAIR OF CLIPPERS

    http://acpet.edu.au/article/2092/raising-the-bar-for-hairdressing-professionals/

    The best and brightest work for megabucks. They don’t make some poor schmuck on welfare pay $30 for a bowl cut.

  27. MichaelC58

    I agree. Degreed nurses are but one element of the progressive deregulation and democratisation of the medical market, which seems good from a libertarian perspective, but wrong from a sound scientific medical care one.

    In the medical ‘marketplace’, doctors are expensive and rare, on account it takes 12 years to train a specialist and the supply has traditionally been restricted, to ensure quality (ok, and arguably because doctors have a strong union).

    Nurses are simply grabbing a bigger richer share of the medical market (along with various alternative and allied health segments) by remaking themselves into a new middle profession, the ‘physician aide’ speciality, to deliver the easier parts of doctoring cheaper. These positions thus come with increasing pressure to have prescribing and Medicare billing rights.

    Patient’s physical care is then delegated to nurse’s aides, who are even less skilled and cheaper than nurses were originally.

    This works OK in some private practices and in growing numbers of speciality wards like ICU, CCU, Diabetes wards etc, but having all nurses degreed creates a an oversupply of such graduates with high expectations, full of politics of gender and status, causing the government obliging them with the creation of various speciality, non-clinical and semi-admin roles and therefore, probably a rise in health costs instead of a fall.

    In my opinion, nursing should have been split into two tiers of expertise and their supply managed better to suit the market.

  28. Chris

    In my opinion, nursing should have been split into two tiers of expertise and their supply managed better to suit the market.

    Isn’t that essentially what has happened with nurses and nursing aides? Even in GP clinics it’s becoming a lot more common for nurses to take up work that GPs would previously have done – discussing of test results, injections, performing some tests etc.

  29. m0nty

    I agree! Let’s start with the RMIT Economics department. ;)

  30. .

    Universities are a joke as well.

    What is taught is half a century behind research. We are teaching graduates falsehoods.

    Some degrees need to be redesigned?

    B Ed?

    Not challenging. Not much face to face time at university. Too many holidays. Not nearly enough prac.

    Make them do a BA/B Ed over two years, summer semesters, longer contact times and in that time up their practicum time so it is more than what they’d get in a four year degree. I’d also make them learn a trade and make the music component harder. Being able to play one song in d minor doesn’t mean you can play guitar.

    It would also adequately prepare them to work in the private sector.

    Well such a degree might be harder. You might see the real dummies drop out.

    Who do you want teaching your kid? Someone with an easy academic teaching degree or someone who has undergone intensive training and has a well rounded education? I know the focus is on pedagogy. Teachers however are still somewhat, rightfully looked down upon by some of their clients. I’ve got a lot more faith in someone with a BA teaching my future kids history than someone who just teaches what they are told to by the curriculum.

    The TAA/TAE qualification at TAFE is a joke.

    A qualified teacher (B Ed, Grad Dip or a University teaching level grad certificate) cannot teach at TAFE. They need to do a poxy Cert IV. The providers of the cert IV infer it is superior to a teaching degree. Fuckheads.

    I know teachers that have had to do the Cert IV. They thought they were qualified to teach at TAFE, but no. They were offered about 1/5 credit for the Cert IV.

    Let’s look at the finance industry. A cert III to sell credit cards or life insurance. No one even reads a PDS or FSG. Most people don’t even know what the acronym means. You can have a commerce degree but soon you’ll need to do a Diploma (Cert V) in mortgage briking to be a mortgage broker.

    Your degree isn’t worthy?! Even if it’s relevant!?

    RCC and RPL are scams. The RTOs don’t want to recognise them. It started as a way of genuinely recognising people who didn’t need training and has turned into a barrier to entry.

    The fact of the matter is we need more engineers, doctors and maths graduates. They don’t have a trouble finding employment and get paid very well.

  31. Token

    Isn’t that essentially what has happened with nurses and nursing aides?

    It was.

    Then the Nurses Unions started lobbying for mandated ratios of “qualified” nurses in every location of the hospital to mantain “quality”.

    This includes in areas which require few advanced skills like Day Stay and pre-Op.

  32. .

    I agree! Let’s start with the RMIT Economics department.

    It won’t affect a professor because they get postgraduate students, who, apart from passing a degree, excel in it and usually get far more on their entrance exams than they need to.

    The real problem with a university is that a macrame professor gets paid the same as a law or auditing professor.

    A barrister working for the state can earn at least 350k if they are halfway decent (prosecutor or district court judge).

    150k to teach a bunch of shitheads…how about no.

    A macrame-ist will be very poor unless they get an Australia Council grant.

  33. Token

    I agree! Let’s start with the RMIT Economics department. ;)

    LOL.

    Do you think we can lose a few of the Journalism schools which pump out more graduates than there are jobs?

  34. .

    Once again, universities and TAFE is not acting in the real economic world, but a communist system from the 1950s.

    They just don’t react to prices.

    This is part of the problem of publicly funded education. Firms like BHP get benefits exceeding the taxes they pay to pay for their share of a grad’s training. Especially if they become a lifer.

    They don’t pay directly, and there is no way of telling people what courses should be done or funded other than the preferences of youngsters thinking of a career who’ve never worked outside of 10 hours a week at KFC.

    This is why in part that cadetships are superior to graduate programmes.

    It is also how law should be studied. The NSW Supreme Court/U Syd LEC Dip Law is equal to a degree, was once held in high esteem before the Law Council made Grad Dip Law necessary (the old Dip Law was also in itself the coursework of a practising certificate).

    It is also much cheaper for the student, the institution and the taxpayer.

  35. MattR

    I completely 100% agree with this article. There are far too many people going to university these days that just simply don’t belong there. They see it as gap years from school to work. An excuse to live with mum and dad and party. Degree’s have become too common and too easy to attain. When I was studying it shocked me how many people couldn’t get the most basic of concepts. They still passed.

    Then there’s the “arts” department, calling it a complete joke would be an understatement. What a massive excuse for entrenched left wing group think designed to produce “degree qualified” leftists with literally no marketable skills.

    My grandfather left school when he was 14 to complete an apprenticeship, he ended up the head of maintenance at a major airline, got his PHD later in life and ‘retired’ to become a university lecturer (after spending 20 years in the Air Force reserve and winning an order of Australia).

    The idea that people need university degrees to be successful is a joke. In most cases they result in the opposite, a life in the public service, a fate worse than hell.

  36. m0nty

    It won’t affect a professor because they get postgraduate students, who, apart from passing a degree, excel in it and usually get far more on their entrance exams than they need to.

    If the department is nixed, (a) the offices won’t exist any more, and (b) at some point the supply of graduates will dry up. :)

    Do you think we can lose a few of the Journalism schools which pump out more graduates than there are jobs?

    Yes, actually. I don’t see the need for more than one J-school in each state.

  37. .

    When I was studying it shocked me how many people couldn’t get the most basic of concepts. They still passed.

    Unfortunately I needed honours and now a Ph D to seperate myself from the chaff.

    There are commerce grads that think that economic growth causes inflation.

  38. .

    If the department is nixed, (a) the offices won’t exist any more, and (b) at some point the supply of graduates will dry up.

    There is a demand for it in the private and public sector. It won’t happen.

    :smileyface:

  39. .

    Universities however don’t teach vocational skills well or at all.

    Consultants and finance analysts usually have to do extra courses to learn how to be really proficient with their tools.

    Except for something as specialised as the MONASH CGE model, this is bit of a rip off.

    Once again, the Soviet system is not repsonsive to the marketplace.

  40. Rococo Liberal

    Who is Ed Cooke and why should we care what he says about law which is the backbone of society? Does the fucker think that the ‘rule of law’ can be administered without lawyers? What a stupid front-bottom! He probably didn’t study law because he wasn’t bright enough.

    I’d love to see him try and stitch a billion dollar acquisition of one company by another without a team of lawyers.

  41. What a stupid front-bottom!

    LOL. I haven’t heard that phrase in ages.

  42. Luke

    I also find it odd that we make university (or other studies) more and more time consuming, expensive and COMPULSORY. For decades now it has been acknowledged that people will have to completely change their career paths during their working lives (becasue of new technologies and globalisation etc.) and yet we make it harder and harder for people to do so. Requiring more and more sunk costs.

    How many basic jobs now require expensive and time consuming ‘qualifications’? And how many ‘qualifications’ exist for jobs that require very little training? In the late 90s my university offered leisure managment as a degree, complete with its own school. Leisure management for **** sake! (apparently these people were to be resort and event managers).

  43. Keith

    Daughter just went through 4 years of Education degree. Could have been done in 2, or shorter if it had been well-administered. Son just finished a double degree, which he thinks is nothing special. Given the huge number of PhDs given out at the ceremony, he might be right. All of the Engineering students graduated with honours. Ridiculous.

  44. .

    Luke

    Occupational licensing is wicked and pernicious.

    You need a cert II to hold a stop/go sign.

  45. Alice

    Ha – another point I agree totally with Dot on.
    Occupational licensing has become utterly pernicious and is stopping people from finding their own work that experience has given them a right to – and the government is sitting on a steady stream of income from these licenses. It is a pernicious additional taxation on work and is becoming more and more prohibitive to people being angaged productively and denigrates experience.

    Dot is right – its getting that you need a cert 11 to hold a stop go sign (and 15 paid hours of continuous professional development in your own time and at your own expense every year).

    This is not helpful to getting people into work at all – and the government is collecting an income by raising the barriers to work. Insidious, counter productive and disgusting behaviour by government.

  46. Yet not everyone should go to university and receive a degree. That statement is today controversial

    I hope it is not. Makes me think of the ads on the Brisbane City council buses “Drivers Wanted” and plenty of taxis have the same, this has been on the buses for maybe 4 years. There are plenty of jobs available to the newly unemployed in the public service to offer an actual public service that is unless they can’t drive or upgrade their licences to MR (medium rigid) requires no waiting time and is only 1 upgrade from a standard drivers licence.

  47. ar

    I think we have too many people going to university in many western countries

    If a billion monkeys went to university, one of them would cure cancer.

  48. Alice

    Samuel J asks
    “Are we better having nurses, journalists, etc having university degrees?”

    I will venture an argument on that one from experience.
    Nurses were redirected to universities sometime in the late 70s early 80s from memory. Before that they often lived on site and worked in the hosipitals where they trained to get a certificate of registration (RN – registered nurse or “sister” as they completed after three years of bloody hard yakka, rotating shifts, real experience and approx 3 blocks of intensive in class training on the hospital site of some 6 weeks or maybe 12 each year – cant quite recall. In addition there was on ward testing and training at each level or task by a clinical nurse educator who watched over you.

    Then the powers that be decided nurses would be better with a degree and ripped them out of the hopsitals and sent them to uni at their own expense. There they were taught a variety of interesting subjects like the benefits of talking to patients and holding their hands – such that when they did arrive in hospitals for their experience a few weeks a year they were considered almost incompetent.

    I suspect the real reason was to “save money.”
    Now these nurses with degrees are being happily replaced by AINs on the wards because they are cheaper (Assistants in Nursing).

    The whole debacle of uni trained nurses has left the wards shortstaffed, the level of experience much less, and is now displacing uni trained nurses with AINs.

    They had a good system in hospitals once, for decades, that dealt professionally with training and nurse education to a higher level of competency, until unis stuffed it all up.

  49. Chris

    This is why in part that cadetships are superior to graduate programmes.

    I wouldn’t oversell practical experience though. When I went to university (engineering) there were basically just two unis in town. One was a known to teach mostly theory, the other put a lot more emphasis on practical experience and had graduates who were known for being able to get going very quickly. And yet there was a strong preference for graduates from the first university over the second. Because although employers knew it would take a few extra months for the graduates to get up to speed that in the long term the much better theoretical grounding would pay off. Practical experience was something employers knew they could provide for their new employees, whilst establishing a good theoretical grounding in retrospect was much harder.

    I’ve heard of some cadetship programs which try to do both but they all push our an engineering degree from 4 to 5 years. The engineering curriculum was pretty full already – around 30 contact hours/week.

  50. ella

    My sister is a teacher. She explained that during her training emphasis is placed on teaching for social change.

    “Teaching for Change provides teachers and parents with the tools to transform schools into centers of justice where students learn to read and write and change the world.

    By drawing direct connections to real world issues, Teaching for Change encourages teachers and parents to question and rethink the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active global citizens.”

    Google “teaching for social change” for the rest of the story.

  51. Alice

    On the subject of unis – they too have become disgusting. They are all scrabbling like feral cats for the foreign students dollars and fighting amongst themselves and they dont mind how many times these foreign students fail a subject because each time its 3grand kerchink, kerchink kerchink.

    In addition they have now invented no end of double degrees to keep students chained to the wheel of study until they are what?? 28, or 29 years old before they get a job and have a whopping huge hecs debt (convincing them they need honours, they need grad certs, they meed masters, they need MBAs, they need phds, they need dips in this and that as well).

    I am sure the government secretly thinks – isnt this just great? Every uni student owes us a packet of money. Then unis lie and tell kids their graduation employment rates are higher than what they really are. Meanwhile they legislate that Tafe can now get in on the act and whack degree prices on new Tafe degrees.

    The utter greed in unis (and higher ed) now knows no end and unis simply cant be trusted. But didnt some want it that way? Didnt some want unis to turn into businesses and rip the guts out of students (and staff)?

    Very sensible idea that was (not).

  52. .

    I wouldn’t oversell practical experience though. When I went to university (engineering) there were basically just two unis in town. One was a known to teach mostly theory, the other put a lot more emphasis on practical experience and had graduates who were known for being able to get going very quickly. And yet there was a strong preference for graduates from the first university over the second. Because although employers knew it would take a few extra months for the graduates to get up to speed that in the long term the much better theoretical grounding would pay off. Practical experience was something employers knew they could provide for their new employees, whilst establishing a good theoretical grounding in retrospect was much harder.

    What? They were all electrical engineers?

    The amount of construction engineers that need to find the inverse of an AB matrix is going to be very, very low.

    After four years of university maths…what?

    You’re gonna have to explain this in more detail.

  53. Alice

    I know a lady in the northern suburbs who has completed a cert 3 in childcare and at the age of 67 has started a successful childcare business in her home (there is huge demand for places). She had to submit as an assignment – “design a weekly activity plan to welcome and embrace aboriginal and tores strait islander children.”

    She doesnt have any aboriginal or tores strait islander children and is unlikely to have any.

  54. .

    Alice

    If universities were truly businesses, they would not behave in the manner in which they do.

    They are scrambling over Government largesse for the most part.

  55. .

    I know a lady in the northern suburbs who has completed a cert 3 in childcare and at the age of 67 has started a successful childcare business in her home (there is huge demand for places). She had to submit as an assignment – “design a weekly activity plan to welcome and embrace aboriginal and tores strait islander children.”

    Now do people believe me about the ISCs, NSSC and the AQF?

    That assignment sounds like a unit of competency, or an element thereof.

  56. Alice

    It was a unit of competency in the cert 3 I suspect =.

  57. “Are we better having nurses, journalists, etc having university degrees?”

    I will venture an argument on that one from experience.
    Nurses…

    Oh good grief. You’re not still pretending to have been a specialist oncology nurse in a top London pediatric blood cancer unit, are you?

    Seriously. Stop embarrassing yourself. Catfish.

  58. Alice

    Dot

    This is the AQF brief

    “The AQF provides the standards for Australian qualifications. It is an integrated policy that comprises:

    The learning outcomes for each AQF level and qualification type
    The specifications for the application of the AQF in the accreditation and development of qualifications
    The policy requirements for issuing AQF qualifications
    The policy requirements for qualification linkages and student pathways
    The policy requirements for the registers of:
    – organisations authorised to accredit AQF qualifications
    – organisations authorised to issue AQF qualifications
    – AQF qualifications and qualification pathways
    The policy requirements for the addition or removal of qualification types in the AQF, and
    The definitions of the terminology used in the policy.

    The AQF is NOT an “integrated policy”. It is a hierarchical INVASIVE policy that has uni lecturers tripping over themselves to write “a list of learning outcomes” into every they do.
    A marking guide for an essay or assignment must now have written “a list of learning outcomes that this assignment addresses”.
    The assignment itself must have “a list of learning outcomes”. The course unit guide must have ” a list of graduate attributes”.
    So now for every written piece lecturers write, they must now write and justify the associated list of “learning ouctomes”.
    Double workload for people in unis and writing these things up involves a crock of verbose bullshit and a huge time waste in IMHO so some bod can peruse it in a government organisation?
    Its bureacratic madness and its completely invasive and incredibly time wasting.

  59. Alice

    Oh shut up sdog. You dont know what Ive done you stupid canine.

  60. Alice

    Sdog – Want my RN number you stupid dog? Whistle for it.

  61. Andrew

    I know a lady in the northern suburbs who has completed a cert 3 in childcare and at the age of 67 has started a successful childcare business in her home (there is huge demand for places). She had to submit as an assignment – “design a weekly activity plan to welcome and embrace aboriginal and tores strait islander children.”

    She doesnt have any aboriginal or tores strait islander children and is unlikely to have any.

    Amazing how all levels of the education system still pander to the Aboriginals when in most aspects, they are not differently disadvantaged in comparison to any other minority group.

  62. Chris

    What? They were all electrical engineers?
    The amount of construction engineers that need to find the inverse of an AB matrix is going to be very, very low.
    After four years of university maths…what?

    I’m most familiar with electrical/electronic engineering since that’s what I studied rather than construction engineering. But a few relevant points about the course.

    - you do study a lot of maths directly in the first couple of years but its all aimed at providing you with the skills to apply the maths for engineering problems rather than an end in itself. Maths is a tool that engineers need to know but you don’t study 4 years of just maths.

    - most engineering courses have a lot of common for the first year. You’re expected to have some knowledge about associated engineering fields because you will be working in close consultation with them and you have to have a vague understanding of what they’re going on about.

    - most of the course was around engineering theory (for example how a transistor works) even if its decades old and not used a lot in practice. That’s important especially in electronic and to an extend electrical engineering fields because technology advances so fast. You can give students skills in today’s tools but without the fundamental theoretical knowledge you will have to retrain them (which is expensive) and their ability to innovate is limited because they don’t have as good an understanding of *why* something is done, they’ve just learnt what they should do based on yesterday’s knowledge of their field.

    That’s why employers looked for the strong theoretical background – at least those who plan on keeping employees for the long term. It’s worth the extra up front investment.

  63. Harold

    “…if one accepts that 100 per cent is too high, then one recognises that there must be some optimal maximum.”

    That argument works in other areas too.

    Immigration: “Do you think our border should be open to the millions who would come here? No? Oh so you’re also a racist who wants to set a limit on immigration.”

    Tax: “Do you think rich people should be taxed 100 percent? Will that work?” (when does “the rich should pay more” end)

    Smoking: “Should smoking be banned completely? No? Oh so at what point do you stop calling for tougher measures?”. (answer: never. but no we don’t want it banned…)

  64. The ‘more people attend universities and this is a good thing’ will always be seductive to governments, especially left-wing ones, I suspect. It’s superficially attractive but doesn’t seem to have produced the benefits it promised.

    A study into credentialism in modern society would be interesting – the increase in employers rating and comparing employees on the base of their educational degrees. Given that the percentage of the Australian population at uni is rising, and not likely to stop rising at any time in the near future, the relative value of these degrees can only go down. Could be something for a future coalition government to look into (in spite of the inevitable response from Labor, ‘they don’t care about education, nyah nyah nyah.’)

  65. Paul

    “It was.

    Then the Nurses Unions started lobbying for mandated ratios of “qualified” nurses in every location of the hospital to mantain “quality”.”

    That’s part of it Token, the other part is the PC angle where it came to be believed that nurses were not respected and the only thing that would change that was Diploma/Degree etc level training. Colleges and Unis then became a new safe haven for nurses with bad backs and chips on shoulders. There was quite a bit of Wimminism and Leftist sociological theory inserted into the training too that hadn’t been there before, and which was largely lost on the late-teen students coming from school, though I’m sure a couple found the rather obviously Lesbotic elements interesting. That shit just didn’t happen in Hospital Training schools. The Colleges (later to become instant Unis) padded out the training to justify the tertiary label. I had the good fortune of getting into a late Hospital course after having started at a Uni, so I got to see elements of both types. The Uni training was actually negligent.

  66. .

    That’s why employers looked for the strong theoretical background – at least those who plan on keeping employees for the long term. It’s worth the extra up front investment.

    Pretty much you’ve found the only qualification other than law (as a solicitor) where knowledge is generally better than practical execution.

  67. .

    That argument works in other areas too.

    Immigration: “Do you think our border should be open to the millions who would come here? No? Oh so you’re also a racist who wants to set a limit on immigration.”

    No. Australia had the greatest benefits from immigration when it was unrestricted.

    Immigration, is not a tax.

  68. Harold

    Not sure what the “No” is in reply to ..

    Yes or No, do you think Australia should presently have an open border. That is anyone who wishes to enter and live in Australia will be permitted to. (perhaps with a basic character test, “no crims”)

  69. .

    Yes.

    The fact of the matter is that it is fairly open anyway.

    We should reform our welfare system.

    Please check boat arrivals from 1980 to 1992. They were virtually none.

  70. Harold

    OK you’re right, you are an exception to the “gotcha” I presented. I am glad I’m not living in your Australia.

  71. .

    Why – you’re glad economic refugees can come here under the guise of genuine refugees and live off public largesse?

  72. brc

    The idea that people need university degrees to be successful is a joke. In most cases they result in the opposite, a life in the public service, a fate worse than hell.

    They actually have in universities now, an ‘MPA’ which is supposed to be like an MBA but centered around spending public money instead. Of course, all the participants are there on the public dime, with the public service footing the bill. The public pay money for these fools to get pieces of paper which qualifies them to spend more public money, but do it with a serious face.

    I’ve met some people studying the course. Without exception, they are a joke. Their most accomplished skills are the ability to make a sentence take up an entire paragraph. They can’t even given an effective death-by-powerpoint like a proper MBA.

  73. Harold

    Your open border will bring us millions of “economic refugees”, which is why I reckon it’s a crazy idea. Are our wires crossed somewhere?

  74. .

    Harold. You do have your wires crossed. You’re not paying attention or you’re not explaining yourself properly.

    How many people are knocked back every year?

    If you don’t have welfare for non citizens (and a long PR term before you become a citizen), there is literally no problem.

    If economic refugees came, they’d be genuine economic refugees. They wouldn’t come with the intention of being mendicants.

    What would be bad if a million people came next year and all got a job or were self employed or employed other people? Or at least their spouse or parents were not relying on public largesse?

    What is the problem if they get supported by charities?

    Unless you are saying having a large population is a problem.

    What’s the problem? Infrastructure?

    Infrastructure is problematic because it is mismanaged by the public sector. Do you know how quickly highways get built in America?

    Land prices are high because of zoning restrictions and taxes on buying a new home or dwelling. The impact of immigration on land prices was marginal until the 1980s.

    Please look at the boat people stats from 1980 to 1992 and explain to me why it is so low.

  75. Harold

    Spot, (for want of a better term of address), the “problem” — or at least a consequence which you may disagree is a problem — is that you are essentially merging a first world labour market with developing world labour markets. That creates both winners and losers, each easy to identify. An Indian will migrate to Australia so long as his reward is better here in Australia, so what’s that, if he earns more than $20 a day? Then you have non-economic benefits, a Bangladeshi will likely move to Australia even if he earns LESS than he does in Bangladesh because he also escapes a filthy decrepit existence. Apply that logic to a large part of Asia and Africa.

    And in addition to welfare which you are excluding you will also need to exclude other benefits such as education and health (definitely education and health) or you still have a net positive for having moved to Australia from a country like India even if your household income is crap.

    Also this is Australia where we just don’t do abject poverty – a nation of bleeding hearts insists everyone within (and some outside!) are provided the safety net, so they will get it.

  76. .

    Native born Australians have higher labour productivity. How many Australians work in the textiles industry? That industry also requires subsidies to remain afloat.

    Your wages will not be brought down by either a Bangladeshi doctor or labourer, not any more than Australian labour supply growing by births. Would you go to a Bangladeshi doctor to pay less – if he was less qualified or less competent? Would that reduce the wages of a doctor who was better qualified people still chose to see for consultations?

    It’s the same reason why free trade doesn’t bring down our wage rates – even in services.

    As the factors of production increase, so will output – meaning the real prices of commodities fall (by more).

    If they pay Australian factor prices – the wage rates will reflect this – and not competition with wage rates in Dhaka.

    An Indian will migrate to Australia so long as his reward is better here in Australia, so what’s that, if he earns more than $20 a day?

    Good luck paying the rent on that wage rate.

    Do people from the eastern states who go to work in the WA mining industry accept wages on marginally more than the eastern wage rates, or do they earn competitive wage rates in WA?

    Even FIFO workers from Bangladesh to Australia wouldn’t accept only marginal wage rate gains.

  77. .

    Also this is Australia where we just don’t do abject poverty – a nation of bleeding hearts insists everyone within (and some outside!) are provided the safety net, so they will get it.

    If you don’t offer welfare to non citizens, then the destitute, malingerers and mendicants will not come.

    What you are saying is that we ought to surrender to the left who believe in unfettered welfare.

  78. Harold

    They don’t have to pay rent! Our border is open and they can live in a tent. Council fines? Which address do you send it to? If it manages to get to them they chuck it on the fire, what do you do then?

    Eventually you’re going to have a problem of shanty towns and slums, they’ll get their food from Coles bins and pickpocket for cash – congratulations you just brought the 3rd world to Australia!

    Bingo! We’ll ship these layabouts back to where they came from and stop their kind from entering.

    Hey, YOU just introduced border regulation!

  79. Harold

    (a “scratches head” tag before Bingo! didn’t display)

  80. Abu Chowdah

    I don’t know Abu – I think Yeager’s piloting of the Bell X-1 was much more complicated than writing this.

    But, Samuel, the person who wrote that is the kind of nanny-statist person who wants to ban computer games. Meanwhile, the Specter gunship proves my point.

  81. Alice

    Paul says re uni nurse training
    “That’s part of it Token, the other part is the PC angle where it came to be believed that nurses were not respected and the only thing that would change that was Diploma/Degree etc level training. Colleges and Unis then became a new safe haven for nurses with bad backs and chips on shoulders

    Utter crap Paul. Unis did not become a safe haven for nurses with bad backs at all. Thats a blatantly politically flawed and biased comment. There was the “stated view” that nurses “werent respected hence should go and get a degree to become respected” but even that was crap and a cover.

    It was to save on the costs of housing nurses cheaply, subsisidising their accomm and training etc.
    Never mind they got paid crap and basically subsidised themselves. Did a uni degree confer respect in dollar terms ? No it did not. It was a cost saving measure that blew the budget when they had to start hauling in Oseas nurses and casual agency nurses to fill the vacancies caused by nurses being on campus instead of on site.

  82. .

    They don’t have to pay rent! Our border is open and they can live in a tent.

    You’d come to Australia to work as a doctor…and live in a tent, forage for food scraps out of skip bins and border protection stops this from happening?

    You’re not making any sense, Harold.

  83. .

    Did a uni degree confer respect in dollar terms ? No it did not. It was a cost saving measure that blew the budget when they had to start hauling in Oseas nurses and casual agency nurses to fill the vacancies caused by nurses being on campus instead of on site.

    How much do you think a theatre nurse gets paid, Alice?

  84. Alice

    A theatre nurse deserves more Dot and there isnt a theatre nurse running around every ward.

  85. Harold

    You don’t make any sense either Spot, because you said,

    “Ima a stoopid and I dun mak any sense”
    – Spot

  86. Dr Faustus

    Pretty much you’ve found the only qualification other than law (as a solicitor) where knowledge is generally better than practical execution.

    That must explain the widespread popularity of cadetships in mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, biology and the medical sciences.

  87. .

    You don’t make any sense either Spot, because you said,

    “Ima a stoopid and I dun mak any sense”
    – Spot

    You don’t like being challenged. Your ideas are stupid and you cannot argue for them.

    You seriously think we need to limit immigration because graduates will come here from Asia to live in tents and scavenge food from dumpsters.

    Seriously. Bring that up in a conversation and see how dumb it is.

    Your theories are bogus and nonsensical and you don’t have any data to back up your arguments.

    That must explain the widespread popularity of cadetships in mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, biology and the medical sciences.

    Don’t get me wrong Faustus, I think cadetships are good. Chris thinks that they end up with professionals with a poor knowledge. Because of the one university he went to and the other one across town he didn’t go to.

    Of course, a cadetship will give better practical knowledge and an integration of both theory and practice.

    Chris was saying that it workers are better trained with little practical knowledge and even outdated theory to be better staff. That’s dubious.

  88. Harold

    Oh sorry I misunderstood Spot, so you were talking about the _third_ world, ah yes, the land of graduates and doctors. Yes they are all welcome through the open border, and if we have to deal with a few minor others who aren’t so glamorously qualified that won’t be an issue because their numbers are sure to be small in comparison.

  89. jupes

    I don’t want open borders because I think more Muslims will be bad for Australia.

  90. Chris

    Of course, a cadetship will give better practical knowledge and an integration of both theory and practice.

    Chris was saying that it workers are better trained with little practical knowledge and even outdated theory to be better staff. That’s dubious.

    That’s not what I said. What is bad is when university programs (at least in engineering) sacrifice theoretical knowledge grounding in exchange for practical experience. There at least were decent cadetship programs, but they resulted in the degree taking 5 years instead of 4 with the same amount of theoretical knowledge taught.

    And I didn’t say outdated theoretical knowledge. Its still true, it may not be used directly anymore but its the basis upon which current practice is based.

    And all engineering degrees in Australia require 12 weeks of practical experience under a professional engineer. But its only very rarely done by the university (they know their limitations) and are done during the long summer university break.

    Most companies know they are good at providing practical knowledge – that’s what they’re staff pass onto one another. But they’re not very good at providing theoretical knowledge and depend on the universities for that. Its the same reason you see a lot of university-company cooperative research.

    Btw I suspect you missed the sarcasm in Faustus’ comment!

  91. .

    Yes they are all welcome through the open border, and if we have to deal with a few minor others who aren’t so glamorously qualified that won’t be an issue because their numbers are sure to be small in comparison.

    They won’t come if there is no welfare for them. You assume there will be because you have capitulated to the left.

    Or, if they do come, they’ll come to work.

  92. .

    Btw I suspect you missed the sarcasm in Faustus’ comment!

    I did probably because my previous comment was so poorly written.

    So you want to be a riprarian ecologist. Practicums would be unbeatable. Perhaps for geology as well.

    Pure sciences and early stage medicine I see how it would be inappropriate.

    Maybe just the pure sciences. See the UOW postgrad (conversion) medicine programme. Universities ought to however take on open exams. If you can do 2nd year chem, you should be allowed to attempt to pass the final exam.

  93. .

    Harold

    You probably feel very strongly about this, but your ideas are really silly.

    How are people so poor that their aim in life is to scavenge from garbage bins going to afford to emigrate to Australia?

    Just think this stuff through a bit more. Your concerns are really imaginary.

    Can you name any group that has ever historically migrated to achieve such a pathetic existence?

  94. Harold,

    Productive people who can produce something or provide a real value adding or cost reducing service that someone else wants to buy are a scarce resource in Australia. Very scarce in the US, and almost non-existent in Europe.

    The impending exponential productivity boosting automation revolution will reduce costs of production to such an extent that poor people will only exist in socialist countries that fail to allow the new economic structure to replace the old one.

    I could be wrong but my interpretation of your earlier comments reminds me of the ‘levellers’ and ‘Luddites’ of old England. I suspect you have come here to troll, but your time is wasted here.

  95. .

    Harold

    If you can save 2.5k AUD in Thailand to fly you and your family here, why would you come here to scavenge out of garbage bins?

    Your arguments really make no sense.

  96. Dr Faustus

    On practical attainment:

    Some disciplines (I’d include geology and ecology in this) absolutely demand practical field experience to support the learning process. Responsibility for this properly falls to the university.

    Other disciplines, for example engineering, absolutely demand serious practical experience to make the graduate a safe and competent practitioner. In this case, I’d agree with Chris that companies are the appropriate providers – universities are not really equipped to provide up to date practical training.

    A whole host of vocational subjects – ‘business studies’, journalism, social work – are arguably best taught in a practical cadetship setting.

    Yet other, other [ahem] “disciplines” – here I include Queer Studies, Feminist Studies, Peace Studies and anything with ‘Sustainable’ in the title – are best described as hobbies, or interests and not taught, or practiced at public expense.

  97. Harold

    My bad for raising an OT in this thread which is about nurse qualifications.

    To the allegation that I must be a troll for being against open borders – please name me one country in this world which has an open border?

    Wikipedia tells me there are currently 204 total states in the world. If this “regulated border” mentality of mine is so zany that it must only come from a troll I imagine a few of them at least must have open borders.

  98. .

    ???

    There’s socialism and corruption everywhere, too.

    Ergo they must be good?

    To the allegation that I must be a troll for being against open borders – please name me one country in this world which has an open border?

    Very few places don’t have income taxes, despite being reviled, wasteful and theoretically inferior to consumption taxes.

  99. Monkey's Uncle

    Part of the problem is that universities will always struggle to attract the best and most capable people in their field, for the simple reason that those who are highly skilled and knowledgeable in an area would often prefer to put those skills to use in the outside world instead of simply spending their life lecturing in a hall.

    Universities will also inevitably tend to attract those who are ideologues rather than pragmatists, insofar as it is easier to espouse bunk theories that will never work in the real world when you are in the confines of an academic institution and not having to make a living outside of it. At their worst, universities function as sheltered workshops or workfare programs for academics who can produce nothing of any value or that is in demand in the real economy.

    This is not to say that there should not be some role for universities in society. There ought to be some institutions that serve as depositories of accumulated knowledge and research on various subjects. And there ought to be some opportunity for certain people to specialise in studying subjects that do not necessarily lend themselves to economic demand but are nonetheless good for the culture (such as history, ancient languages, classical literature etc.).

    But the idea that most people should attend such institutions, or that spending more money on such things will lead to vast increases in productivity and economic growth is moonshine and magic pudding thinking at its worst. Much education spending is really just consumption rather than a genuine investment.

  100. jumpnmcar

    Samuel J

    The people working in the climate change industry could more productively be employed in a trade – after all, they can barely carry one abstract thought at a time.

    As a tradesman ( 3 Trades ), you are wrong with that.
    In fact I’m having more than 1 abstract thought right now about what I would do if some sanctimonious dickhead had the balls to say that to me face to face.
    If your sitting at a desktop right now, look around, “you didn’t build that”, some fucken tradesmen did.

  101. Paul

    “There was the “stated view” that nurses “werent respected hence should go and get a degree to become respected” but even that was crap and a cover.”

    Not crap Dot, unless you mean crap by definition. Its what they used to say when they were selling us the whole idea.

  102. Paul

    Sorry Dot, I meant Alice.

  103. Dead Soul

    And there ought to be some opportunity for certain people to specialise in studying subjects that do not necessarily lend themselves to economic demand but are nonetheless good for the culture (such as history, ancient languages, classical literature etc.).

    Robert Winston, the IVF dude, made an interesting comment regarding “culture”. He stated that typically culture include what you have mentioned above but in this day and age why isn’t more of the sciences regarded as being “cultured”. Why is philistine to talk about molecules and stuff but cultured to talk about what some ancient poems and stories? There is no reason, it just habits.

  104. Dave

    The fact that the author of this thinks that postmodernism is a discipline says everything, and the anti-trade snobbery is beyond satire.

  105. Monkey's Uncle

    “Yet other, other [ahem] “disciplines” – here I include Queer Studies, Feminist Studies, Peace Studies and anything with ‘Sustainable’ in the title – are best described as hobbies, or interests and not taught, or practiced at public expense.”

    Except that a hobby is supposed to be enjoyable! Of course, the problem is that the more people who attend university, the greater the need to create more courses to cater to the less able students. Invariably they will be courses big on political correctness, identity politics and dogma, but lacking in any empirical rigour or skills.

    Much of what passes for scholarship these days is indeed a joke. Years ago I did an Honours Politics course, and I would say that at least half the students there did not have even a bare minimum understanding (i.e the sort of familiarity with key concepts and facts that you would expect a first year student to grasp). The problem is that the less capable students hold back everyone else, as discussions and seminars have to be ‘dumbed down’ to include the dullest students.

    The idea that even the dullest and most intellectually inept people should get university degrees is part of the modern cultural malaise of self-esteem, narcissism, entitlement and endless validation. All must have prizes. We must worship the most inane and mediocre.

  106. mct

    jumpnmcar, I think you got Samuel J backwards.

  107. James Bauer

    I would divvy up government funding to universities per discipline and give useless bullshit like gender studies, queer studies, feminist history, ethnic studies, anything to do with Aboriginals, or anything else utterly awful like that nothing. As well as denying commonwealth support to anyone undertaking study in those disciplines.

  108. .

    Much of what passes for scholarship these days is indeed a joke. Years ago I did an Honours Politics course, and I would say that at least half the students there did not have even a bare minimum understanding (i.e the sort of familiarity with key concepts and facts that you would expect a first year student to grasp). The problem is that the less capable students hold back everyone else, as discussions and seminars have to be ‘dumbed down’ to include the dullest students.

    I blame schools. Remember that “sixth grade” exam Jarrah used to post here from England, early 20th century?

    I doubt most school leavers would pass such an examination.

  109. Giffy

    Re nursing
    What Alice said is true

  110. Borisgodunov

    The only disciplines to support are ,
    1.medical and practical associated subjects.
    2.engineering architecture and associated subjects.
    3.practical science.
    4.practical school teaching.
    That should cover the Taxpayer funded courses,for the rest ,you want it ,you pay for it!

  111. Dr Faustus

    Monkey’s Uncle: Amen to that.

    jumpnmcar: The rise of cheap and plentiful degrees has, I think, downgraded (in some quarters, at least) public respect for trades as a career route. A trade qualification doesn’t fall into your hands as easily as a crap BA. It requires skill, application, learning, professional responsibility – and the same amount of time on McDonalds money as an honours degree.

    Most people don’t realise the reliance that they place on tradies to undertake complex technical work.

  112. .

    Boris

    Why not privatise their funding anyway?

    At most, we ought to provide those career paths with a means tested HECS style voucher system, payable at market interest rates but deferrable.

    They’re viable career paths, a bank manager can bet onn a vet or a engineer’s salary, not a macrame-ists.

    Law, finance, economics, yes, they can be taught as cadetships or through industry bodies, or the employer.

  113. jumpnmcar

    mct

    jumpnmcar, I think you got Samuel J backwards.

    Yeh, maybe he misspoke , I’ve re-read it twice and agree with almost all of it.
    Except that sentence, stabbed me in the eye it did.

    My trades are my career, why don’t I get letters after my name?
    A couple of years ago in a national construction industry awards every commercial project ( Different architects and principal contractors ) that I was involved in won their category,at a local level, every winner.
    At the State level 3, National level 2.

    To me that’s ” peer reviewed ” acknowledgement.

    But NO ” professor ” or ” Doctor ” do I get.
    I’m a leader of men and women, but ” Captain ” or Major ” I won’t be called.
    I’ve educated many an apprentice( from boys/girls into adulthood ) but the respect of teacher or lecturer is not given to me by “academics ”

    No, I’m

    an appropriately harsh overseer

    that

    can get quite effective results from shirkers.

  114. James Bauer

    jumpncar: Yes, when Samuel took a dig at tradesmen I didn’t find it in good taste at all. The ones who do good work, work hard, are honest and skilled, are very commendable. Trades make the world go round and should be admired, especially considering many with degrees hold them in useless Arts subjects.

  115. jumpnmcar

    Most people don’t realise the reliance that they place on tradies to undertake complex technical work.

    Yes to that.
    Not all or even most excel, but the cream of the crop aren’t respected enough in society.
    Just look at the media.
    NEWS HEADLINE
    Dodgy tradesman rips of family!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( just look at their sad faces)
    Next up;
    Dr/Professor/economists/academic helping you with advice ( trust trust trust) on everything.

  116. kae

    they dont mind how many times these foreign students fail a subject because each time its 3grand kerchink, kerchink kerchink.

    And what uni would that be, Alice the Fabulist? International students pay full fees. I know of no uni with full fees of $3K per course.

  117. Alice

    I am woth Dot. Abolish the AQF. They are a bullshit institution who create useless mindnumbinglingly complex underproductive paperwork for a few bureacrats to inpsect at their leisure.

  118. Alice

    The AQF do real damage and waste extraordinary amounts of time.

  119. Alice

    You dont Kae? Then you obviously havent been around in a uni at all…3 grand quite mormal in many subjects for foreign studenta,

    I repeat Kerchink, kerchink.

  120. Alice

    Also dont know who you are Kae but Ive just written you off as silly.

  121. Alice

    BTW Kae – its not 3 K a course (you cant even get the terminology right and on that basis dummy, you call me a fabulist? Good try – but its you who are in the bin).

    Its 3K a single subject within a course. Even worse.

  122. Ivan Denisovich

    Much education spending is really just consumption rather than a genuine investment.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2195547/Thousands-students-hoodwinked-taking-courses-jobs-get.html

  123. kae

    Terminology, Alice.

    A Degree Program is made up of courses. Courses cost more than $3K for international students.

    I work at a sandstone uni.

  124. Splatacrobat

    I work at a sandstone uni.

    Great slam dunk Kae.
    This is where Alice lives .

  125. I note the disclaimer from your linked quote, Samuel J.

    ” Rachel Davey:
    Director – Centre for Research & Action in Public Health at University of Canberra.
    Disclosure Statement.
    Rachel Davey does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.”

    “The Conversation provides independent analysis and commentary from academics and researchers.
    We are funded by CSIRO, Melbourne, Monash, RMIT, UTS, UWA, Canberra, CDU, Deakin, Flinders, Griffith, La Trobe, Murdoch, QUT, Swinburne, UniSA, USQ, UTAS, UWS and VU.”

    Isn’t that disclaimer just a little bit dodgy?

  126. The whole Hospital to Uni thing was an example of Rudds “Economic Advancement via The Back Of The Envelope Calculation.”
    (You didn’t know Rudd had the keys to the TARDIS?)
    Neville Wran was Premier of NSW and in trouble. He needed a big headline to get him over the line for the elections.
    So he came up with this beauty: “$20 Million Win For Universities – Nursing to get Degree Pathway.”
    The second was “Big Savings in Health Administration – $20 Million in Admin Cuts.”
    It was such a miserable bit of spin.

  127. Your wages will not be brought down by either a Bangladeshi doctor or labourer, not any more than Australian labour supply growing by births.

    Dot that is a silly statement. The going international rate for labourers is $1 per hour plus food and a bed so about $20 per day if in Australia. This would be the going rate of a labourer in Aus if there was an open border.

  128. Alice

    Winston – you got it in one
    ‘So he came up with this beauty: “$20 Million Win For Universities – Nursing to get Degree Pathway.”
    The second was “Big Savings in Health Administration – $20 Million in Admin Cuts.”

    Read nurses were ripped out of hospital training for “big savings in admin cuts”

    Read a few years later “oh SHIT – the admin budget has blown out badly on casual nurses from agencies to staff wards. Quick – we need to recruit foreign nurses and pronto. It seems all ours are lolling about in uni lecture halls”.

    Thats what happened. Short term gain. Long term health admin budget pain – the fools.

  129. Alice

    But Winston

    You are a dickhead with this comment

    The whole Hospital to Uni thing was an example of Rudds “Economic Advancement via The Back Of The Envelope Calculation.”

    Rudd was in nappies when this happened you dummy.

  130. Alice

    Kae – a course program is made up of units. An undergrad degree is a course. It is made up of units worth credit points each.
    You work at a sandstone uni do you? How up to date are you? Or does your snadstone uni call a degree course or program something else entirely different?? and yes each unit in the course costs 3K for foreign students at many institutions. 4 to 6 units each semester each costing teh foreign student 3K each. Three years – 4 to 6 subjects a semester? Thats about 60 to 80K and thats what they pay if they DONT fail.

    Are you asleep inside those sandstone walls Kae?

  131. Alice

    Kae says

    “I know of no uni with full fees of $3K per course”.
    Its clear you dont get out of the sandstone uni where you are Kae – even to go shopping at Macquarie.
    Even so the kerchink, kerchink, kerchink comment of mine stand when a foriegn student fails and the unis are happy to let them repeat as many times as they can afford to pay repeat fees…ie one rule for full fee payers and another rule for domestic hecs students???

    That SUCKS. Its a bifurcation of uni standards when faced with a wall of money.

    which I think was what you were objecting to in the first place. Make up your mind which comment of mine you objected to Kae (the kerchink, kerchink comment)?

  132. .

    Your wages will not be brought down by either a Bangladeshi doctor or labourer, not any more than Australian labour supply growing by births.

    Dot that is a silly statement. The going international rate for labourers is $1 per hour plus food and a bed so about $20 per day if in Australia. This would be the going rate of a labourer in Aus if there was an open border.

    kelly liddle
    19 Dec 12 at 7:26 pm

    No kelly, it is correct and not silly at all.

    You are basing your idea on the value of Australian labour simply being the equilibrium for a homogeneous commodity – unskilled labour.

    If you sell diamonds in India, do you sell them for less than their market value in Australia?

    It is extremely grandiose of you to make such bizzare predictions that fly in the face of theory and evidence when you are not a qualified economist.

    Indians don’t work for guys like you so they can bring down Australian wages, it is because it is an entry level job. Most people born here don’t consider it a worthwhile occupation in terms of remuneration.

    Of course, if you were right, we should just open the border for goods, services, investment and labour.

    If everything was cheaper, that of course would be good.

    The fact is the level of capital investment in Australia pushes real wages up. Even entry level services sector jobs are pulled up because of the demand for and thereby of higher productivity workers – be those whom are highly skilled or work in capital intensive industries.

    Liberalising factor movements all round would still be beneficial if you are wrong.

    Strictly speaking the K/L ratio merely refers to the labour share of factor income. Worker productivity determines labour demand. New entrants have the lowest productivity of all workers and so only compete amongst themselves. The longer they are here, the more productive they become.

    Y = f(K,L, A, t, l…)

    Eventually all real wages (and factor incomes) increase.

  133. Alice

    Dot

    This is the sort of BS comment I cant stand based on some idiotic econ equation

    “Eventually all real wages (and factor incomes) increase.”

    So how long you gonna stand there on a street corner with your perfect theory sign when average wages and wages share of GDPI have been going down in very real sense for some time now (like twenty plus years)

    and claim “wages will increase in the long run” (oh really???)

    when in the long run we are all dead?

    Who are you Dot? – Father Xmas with the theory of hope and joy that isnt working??

  134. .

    So how long you gonna stand there on a street corner with your perfect theory sign when average wages and wages share of GDPI have been going down in very real sense for some time now (like twenty plus years)

    The share I don’t care about nor does it invalidate what I said.

    Real wages have not gone backwards for 20 years.

    Stop bullshitting, Alice. They have increased over that period. They declined from about 1985 to 1988 and recovered to 1992.

    They have increased along with productivity and AWOTE.

  135. .

    Also note: real wages increased under the last conservative Government by a fair whack, and unemployment fell, as did the participation rate.

    Unemployment fell even as the real minimum, wage rose.

    All of this happened under record levels of immigration and labour market liberalisation.

    Of course, during that time when the real minimum wage fell, unemployment fell even more. Those people who found work for the first time or a very long time have not remained on the minimum wage.

  136. kae

    Yeah, Alice.

    Whatever you say. With all your age and experience I know I must be wrong.

    What the Degree Programs and Courses are called depends on where the University’s student information system was sourced.

    In the US, where many of the good student information systems are sourced, study toward a degree is called a program, and the subjects are called courses which have unit values (usually two unit, four to a semester).

    UQ, Grifith, ANU are three universities I know which use the Degree Program/Course system.

    Don’t take my word for it, MethusAlice, oh ancient, wise one. Have a bit of a google, put your glasses and your thinking cap on, too.

    By the way, most students taking honours will study for an extra year after their degree program, students who want to continue their study usually know what they want to do with the higher qualification (usually work in tertiary ed or research) or for hons study a specialisation, and many of them go to a different university to do their postgrad degree, whether a Masters or a PhD.

    But what would I know? Alice has been around forever and done everything and knows all.

  137. Megan

    Also dont know who you are Kae but Ive just written you off as silly.

    And I don’t know who you are but after long and patient observation of your ravings it is easy to write you off as a complete fruit bat. A rude and nasty fruit bat at that.

    Not sure where you are getting your wild accusations from but I work in the same sector as Kae, minus the sandstone, and you are not even close. Except, possibly, about the AQF.

  138. Megan

    I think Alice might be Number’s uglier sister.

  139. Alice

    Kae

    You posted all this great length to explain that foreign students now pay 4K a course or whatever you want to call it and not 3K a course?
    I threw in 3K because last time I looked it was that.

    Now tell me your sanddstone uni doesnt let the foreign students fail multiple times and that that policy is inequitable compared to the stricter rules placed on domestic CSP students and

    tel me it isnt all about money and its not kerchink, kerchink, kerchink now in unis? Are you behind the sandstone walls of the one that has been gobbling up Sydney property (at the same time as eroding its surplus on really bad investments) or are you behind the concrete bunker walls of the one that has been selling off as much land as it can to top 50 companies on the grounds and gouging staff and students as much as it can for parkin?

    You now want to defend sandstone walls?

    I can see why you are ensconsed in sandstone walls. because it took you three really long posts to slpit a hair.

    As for Megan? Megan who? Megan who says I am not even close except for the AQF comments (fancy that?)? What part of that did you agree with Megan? That the AQF wastes a whole lot of people’s time in unis?

    Or would you rather post insults as at 1.15am. Thats pretty impressive (not). What part of the uni do you work in?

    The part that houses Administrators?

  140. Carpe Jugulum

    What part of the uni do you work in?

    Kae – i think you have a stalker.

  141. Alan Grey

    I would agree, but I would also add that cheap (or free) tertiary education has led to a reduced availability of trade laborers, which has in turn, increased the cost of trade laboring services, which increased the cost of …pretty much most things…

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