Richard alludes to an interesting piece in today’s Irish Times (why is there always something interesting in the times on the days I don’t buy it). Anyway it is about the amount of people in college and whether that is dumbing down standards.
Is it possible for the currently under-financed university sector to initiate and socialise all these newcomers so they can recognise and digest an intellectual argument? Or must the institutions dumb down and give in to the dead weight of numbers by lowering intellectual standards and turning lecturing into a branch of the entertainment industry?
Firstly it is clear that most people who write for the Irish Times come from a arts background as I am sure that anyone from a Science background would ever say that a lecture in Quantum Mechanics or Organic Chemistry is ever entertaining however interesting. Continued
To pretend that genuine advances in intellectual and scientific inquiries can be easily combined with democracy's demand for undergraduate mass intake and teaching is a complete illusion.
To me UCD's Andreas Hess who wrote the article has missed a major change in the world and indeed I think Richard has possibly missed it as well. . In this new knowledge economy the skills that are demand are the ones that require a university training, few jobs anymore require only a leaving cert and the ones that do are quickly drying up.
The place where previously a degree held, that of the advancement of science etc is now no longer that place. The degree is now been required by so many business that to hold it up to the standards of excellent that Andreas Hess believes it should would damage the economy. The degree now is the definition of the standard level of education need to complete a job.
The place where the “genuine advances in intellectual and scientific inquiries” is at PhD level. A university degree is the new leaving cert.