The traditional way of viewing education was to regard it in two halves: (1) school was about getting the grades that were good enough to get you into university; and (2) University was about gaining the right degree with the right final result to enable the graduate to apply for a well paying secure job. Globalisation has changed this traditional model of education. We now need graduates who are able to possess adaptable skills to cope with a changing marketplace but, at the same time, universities aren't there to provide remedial teaching for undergrads who didn't pick up the basic skills of thought analysis, spelling, punctuation etc. Therefore, there is a downward pressure on schools to provide a better quality of education that will enable children to enter university equipped with the ability to engage in intellectual and innovative thought and debate.
Is that happening? No, it isn't because a university degree is seen as a universal benefit now. Everyone is taught to believe that they can do a degree. While ideologically this may be sound and desirable, the argument fails to advance the basic tenet that skill and application is required by a student in copious amounts to gain a degree. I also blame the universities who have cashed in on the aspirations of many but offer a low level of education in return which ill equips graduates for a competitive market place environment. It makes a mockery of education.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
I refer to Daisy Goodwin's article in the Sunday Times News Review 4 July titled 'Scrub Up and Strike Gold'. Daisy was invited to speak to sixth formers about working in the media. I paraphrase what she wrote but, in a nutshell, the girls' ambitions stretched only so far as bagging a rich husband who could afford to pay for a designer lifestyle. The girls, Daisy says, were bright but simply not interested in using their own intellect to fund their dreams.
Who do we blame for this? Is it our contemporary culture which worships uber rich celebrities which has sent the wrong message out? Is it mothers who have grown tired of working and cannot break through the glass ceiling who are telling their daughters to view marriage as a meal ticket? Is it just gross greed and laziness-let someone else pay instead?
I think it is a combination of all three. When you reverse engineer the concept of celebrity you will find that, in most cases, some kind of talent (singing) or skill (football) has been applied to gain celebrity status. The media doesn't push this point though and endlessly reports on the fruits of celebritydom instead which are the designers clothes and shoes. New media has also allowed us to peer intimately into the lives of celebrities thereby giving an impression that they are only a hop and a skip away from us. I have heard mothers telling their daughters to marry footballers. These mothers are inevitably ones who are finding it hard to make a living. Our society must share the blame too for touting the idea of lazy individualism, as I call it. Others can pay for what 'she' wants without her having to put any valuable effort into the process.
What worries me the most is the fact that girls such as the ones Daisy met don't realise that they are selling their futures in return for the hollowness of expensive logos. By marrying a rich man only for his money they will omit to consider whether he has traits that will enhance their lives. There will not be that give and take and healthy compromise which ought to exist in a good marriage. A marriage based on the ability to buy as many interlocked 'C' products as possible will never be a fulfilling one. To top it all, as recent high profile divorces have demonstrated, rich men will plead poverty in the divorce courts.