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Should universities be focus on subjects that are most useful in the future?

lisalisa Posts: 744 ✭✭✭
People have different views about how much choice students should have with regard to what they can study at univeristy. While it could be argued that it would be better for students to be forced into certain key subjects, I personally believe everyone should be able to study the course of their choice.

There are various reasons why people believe that universities should only offer subjects that will be useful in the future. They may assert that university courses like medicine, engineering and information technology are more likely to be beneficial than certain art degrees. From a personal perspective, it could be argued that these courses could provice more job opportunities, career progression, better salaries, and therefore an improved quality of life for students who take them. On the societal level, by forcing people to choose particular univerisity courses, governments can ensure that any knowledge and skill gaps in the economy are covered. Finally, a focus on technology in higher education could lead to new inventions, economic growth, and greater future propersity.

In spite of these arguments, I believe that university students should be able to choose their preferred areas to study. In my opinion, society can benefit more if our students are passionate about what they are learning. Besides, nobody can really predict which areas of knowledge will be more useful in the future, and it may be that employers begin to value creative thinking skills above practical or technical skills. If this were the case, perhaps we would need more students of art, history and philosophy than of science or technology.

In conclusion, while it could be argued that university should offer only useful subjects, I personally prefer the current system in which people have the right to study what they like.


  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 29,202 mod
    I agree that students should study what they want. I think it is a bad idea that only those subjects should be offered that are seen to be useful (many universities are already doing this). It means that there are too many people qualifying in the same subjects who then can't easily get jobs. Also what if they (the universities) get it wrong? Plus I think students should study subjects that they are interested in. Unless it is a very specialised field, university qualifications are more proof of the ability to learn and in most fields, there is a fair amount of flexibility. For example someone with a history degree has openings in all sorts of areas fropm the obvious like teaching, librarianship, museum work to management consultancy, accountancy, law, banking and many more professions.
  • lisalisa Posts: 744 ✭✭✭
    Take myself for an example, I am totally not good at mathematics. You can not be able to imagine how serious the situation is! I only got the qualified score one time throughout the whole year of my last senoir middle school, and mathematics has been always a nightmare for me, even now I have some nightmares sometimes related with mathematics. That is why I think students should have rights to choose the subjects they like.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 29,202 mod
    Exactly @lisa. Mathematics isn't my forte but I've managed fine.
  • lisalisa Posts: 744 ✭✭✭
    Mathematics is definitely a nightmare for me, and I think it has always been my nightmare :'(
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 29,202 mod
    Me too. I hated it at school @lisa. Statistics was the only exam I ever failed and when I retook the exam, I only scraped through by the skin of my teeth.
  • lisalisa Posts: 744 ✭✭✭
    When I chose the faculty or major which I should study at the university, I compared many majors, such as law, international business management, and english, all of them do not have any relationships with mathematics. For my life, I must keep a distance with mathematics, as far as I can :p @mheredge
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 719 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2017
    1)I think the right thing is gender-, race-, whatever blind merit-based admission. A person either performs and gets involved or doesn't and else.

    2)There are areas where men are better and there are others where women are. Nothing bad with that. But exclusions do happen.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 29,202 mod
    I think practice helps and so I'm not scared of numbers @lisa. I know I'm not particularly good at difficult calculations but straight forward sun's, if I can't do them in my head, I get a scrap of paper and do the maths. I don't usually have to get a calculator.

    My niece is thinking about doing a PhD but is wondering how specific it needs to be to work at the end (which since I don't think she has much idea what she wants to do with it, doesn't help). She's into microbiology and all the people I know who studied this and other similar subjects to PhD level have jobs that are far from the original subject area, so I'm not sure if it really matters too much.
  • lisalisa Posts: 744 ✭✭✭
    Well, philosophy seems mysterious and complicated to me, but one of my former classmates studied this in her univeristy period, now she is a teacher in a senior middle school. I have to apologize that I do not know the relationships between microbiology and philosophy, in my opinion, they are totally different.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 29,202 mod
    I don't think it's very important what subject you study unless you want to do something very specialised @lisa. It's the qualification that proves that you have a certain ability which is more important for most employers.
  • lisalisa Posts: 744 ✭✭✭
    But the formal qualifications or maybe I should name it as certificate is the first step when you apply for a vacancy. It is true that current jobs of most of us seem disconnected with our faculty, but it is undoubtful that some professional jobs, such as doctors, lawyers and teachers, must have relevent educational background. @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 29,202 mod
    There will always be many careers that need very specific training and qualifications @lisa, but many more are quite flexible, especially when starting out.
  • lisalisa Posts: 744 ✭✭✭
    In my opinion, the careers related to specific qualifications usually develop well but begin hardly.Almost all of them require experiences. @mheredge
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