Two decades back I wrote “Degrees For Everyone”, a comic novel on the collapse of universities as centres of academia. Instead, I claimed, they were now commercial ventures, dishing out nonsense degrees in non-academic topics. Since then university degrees (excluding the sciences, philosophy et al) have become an even bigger joke.
I advise my children to have a year at university as an experience, but otherwise to be curious and read. As they’ve grown up awash in books the adult ones all have large libraries of several thousand books and any discussions frequently include comment about a book they’ve just read, particularly any fiction, which has excited them.
But here’s how bad the situation has become.
London’s University of Buckingham, currently rated 123rd out of Britain’s 130 universities, is… Read no further until you’ve poured yourself a drink…
I’ll now carry on assuming you’ve taken that precaution… is offering a degree in 20th century British history. Now down your drink and pour another before reading further.
First; this ratbag so-called university doesn’t even know what the 20th century is as it transpires this degree is to cover Britain’s 20th century history up until 1980.
“Lectures” consist solely of a weekly quality restaurant dinner, with an after-dinner speaker. The rest is writing essays on any subject the student chooses re that period.
Now comes the real need to finish off the bottle and open another.
For this outfit will give you a B.A. after one year, an M.A. at the end of the second year and a bloody doctorate at the end of the third year.
So if I lived in London I could attend the weekly dinner which from the details, sounds a fun occasion, and being a writer, could easily knock out the required weekly essay in half an hour, the subject being of my choice, then three years later, it’s Bob Jones PhD.
The commercial opportunity this situation offers in providing for every typist, retardee, road worker or whoever, to acquire a PhD, immediately leaps to mind. They could enrol, attend the weekly dinner then for a fee, one could knock out essays for them effortlessly, to present in their own hand-writing.
Even in our degraded universities, never more epitomised than by the disgraceful episode by Auckland university, when incited by their mad Vice-Chancellor, over 600 of them cowardly signed a petition calling for the sacking of some of their professorial science colleagues. Their sin it will be recalled, was in writing a letter to the Listener in which they protested at having to present their scientific research in the context of maori mythology. Mythology is a legitimate field of study as an aspect of human behaviour but it most certainly has nothing to do with science.
It’s long overdue for a government enquiry into our universities and what constitutes academic study, justifiable given they’re substantially funded by the tax-payer.