The Times Higher Education has printed a short piece about the changing nature of degrees.
For me, the penultimate paragraph from the piece is the clincher:
“Many undergraduates are very intelligent, and the best reach very high standards of intellectual attainment. But that is not because our system any longer requires or even encourages it. Indeed, what may be our greatest failing is that we do not push the able to fulfil their greatest potential because we do not sufficiently differentially reward it in a system that accords less to highly developed critical thinking, originality and flair. Moreover, even the less talented are deprived of the experience of improving and developing, of beginning to see, as they revised – that is looked and thought again – how different areas of a subject threw light on each other as well as contributed to a whole discipline and understanding.”
I don’t want to throw yet more opinion out there on the worth and status of university degrees. What I do want to point out, however, is that we are all responsible for ourselves. It looks like that personal responsibility is only going to become more necessary, rather than less.
Instead of looking at ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, I hope we can all find our own encouragement to push forward with research, exploration, writing, and understanding. Who cares what the Higher Education system is – or is not – doing? The important thing is to do it for our own development and, hopefully, enjoyment.
If you like what you do, it makes a big difference. It doesn’t matter how your establishment fares in the league tables, it makes no difference whether your degree is regarded as Mickey Mouse…when you make use of the tools around you and you’re happy to do it, you have much greater control of your future…and your grades.