I recently read a lengthy article that ponders several philosophical questions as to the emerging state of academia in the new millennium [“When school sends you to rock bottom” – July 5]. To this, and some other brief points mentioned, I attempt to offer some consideration.

If I can surmise what I uncovered during my extensive research on the state of education in a mere phrase, it would be that people don’t much care what you know but rather what you’ve done. In this way, the university has changed from being a knowledge-centred institution for the average student to a place where we matriculate through our programs via task-based instructions until we have completed what has become this new mandated concept of education.

To illustrate this through example, in the old days, people lamented our inability to do long division in our heads. Today, Google has become the new “calculator.”

Grades result in how successfully you navigate through the system, just as job success today rests highly on one’s ability to work through the social maze of work culture. How detail-oriented you are and how driven to learn and cultivate your own intellectual progress can become liabilities in achieving positive judgement from others with regards to your effectiveness to a team and someone else’s bigger picture, depending on the situation.

Students simply don’t have the time to indulge much extra-curricular scholastic curiosity in a subject when their lives are so regimented to the point of suffering from lack of sleep.

Society tells us the importance of a university education, when in reality legions of graduates may revert to employment that can reasonably be carried out regardless, though in some cases these degrees are requisite simply because companies prefer employees to have one. That others may still be even more capable, yet lack that credential, dubious as it may be, puts them at some considerable disadvantage.

Quebecers understand the context of rising tuition fees as they relate to problems in the larger national context. We need to be cognisant of how our years in university are preparing us, and what the costs are weighed against the actual tangible rewards that have been promised.

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