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June 4, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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We [Don’t] Need [No] Education

Every year, the infamous “no one will pass hahaha you will all fail” speech is delivered to massive lecture theatres full of frightened first-year Law students clutching their lanyards tight. Other than inspiring a misplaced self-confidence in those who do manage to make it through the Grant-Morris-induced gauntlet of 100-level, this open-entry first year leading to a selective second year provides us with a good example of the profit-driven university structure. In short, lots of people take first-year Law, lots of people fail or drop out, and the University makes a killing out of fees and “I wanted to do a BCom all along” discussions. This profit would dramatically shrink if the University introduced an entrance criteria to weed out the people for whom legal history is a bit of a waste of time.

It’s hard to make the case that high-school results should predicate placement at university. After all, that Level 3 History exam was totally bullshit, am I right? Perhaps the change needs to be at a cultural level where knowledge is emphasised over vocation in the university experience.

Our current Government has demonstrated that they firmly believed a job should be the only outcome of an education. In the 2012 Budget, they instructed universities to “reprioritise” spending to create an extra 300 Engineering places. That’s cool, because Engineering is cool, and highly skilled workers are certainly cool. But this shouldn’t have to come at the expense of Art History majors, because knowledge is important too, damnit.

Having decided that the arts aren’t important enough to direct new funding to, the Government then charged on with cutting accessibility to postgraduate allowances. Steven Joyce, who took two decades to get his degree, decided that postgraduate study, the pursuit of higher knowledge, making new discoveries and developing thinking, was not worth funding. Why? Because you don’t need a Honours or Master’s degree to be part of the workforce. This Government doesn’t value the intrinsic benefit of higher knowledge.

I’ll admit that my continued insistence upon throwing myself on the funeral pyre that is my Law degree is in part motivated by a creeping elitist suspicion that just a BA isn’t good enough. Sure, there’s only a limited amount of jobs where knowing everything about the French Revolution is applicable. But, my scholastic friends, that’s not the point of university, and nor should it be.

And besides, Eddie Redmayne is suuuch a babe OMG.

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this