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"The April rain, the April rain,
Comes slanting down in fitful showers,
Then from the furrow shoots the grain,
And banks are fledged with nestling flowers;
And in grey shawl and woodland bowers
The cuckoo through the April rain
Calls once again."

Mathilde Blind, April Rain
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Should universities be focus on subjects that are most useful in the future?

lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
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.

Comments

  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 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: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    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: 31,060 mod
    Exactly @lisa. Mathematics isn't my forte but I've managed fine.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    Mathematics is definitely a nightmare for me, and I think it has always been my nightmare :'(
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 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: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    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: 900 ✭✭✭
    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: 31,060 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: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    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: 31,060 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: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    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: 31,060 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: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    In my opinion, the careers related to specific qualifications usually develop well but begin hardly.Almost all of them require experiences. @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    Most of my friends who have PhDs are doing things that only relate a bit if at all to the subject they studied at a higher level @lisa. It's a good stepping stone but like you say, experience usually counts the most.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    Today I checked the age limitations of teachers who are recuited by universities, can you imagine? Most of good universities keep the age limitations as 35 years old or younger of doctors degree. Both of experiences and ages count the most now in China. @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    This seems very unfair. In the UK ageism seems to start considerably later @lisa.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    Chinese children start their school time from their 7 years old, the purpil school time is 6 years, junior school time is 3 years, this 9 years' school time is compulsory, then they can continue their senior middle school study if they want to their familes can afford their tution fees. If they study hard enough and most importantly they are lucky enough, they will be enrolled in by a good university after 3 years and then they start their four years' university study. They can get their undergraduate degrees after 16 years' study, then postgraduate degree needs at least 2.5 years, doctor degree normally needs another 4 years. @mheredge If everything goes smoothly, a 33 years old person can get his doctor degree in China. Thanks very much for those universities, they allow their workers or professors to have two years as their absent time.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    Full-time masters degrees normally take a year @lisa, though part time they can take longer. PhDs normally take 3-5 years.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    So if you want to be a doctor before 30 years old, you have to study very hard to make sure that you are not absent from any studying periods, and it also means that 24 years of one people's life time should be spent on studying at school. @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    @lisa, in the UK it generally takes 5 years to qualify as a doctor (5 years at university). I spent this by the time I did a one years Certificate in Education and another year for a masters - so it isn't unusual to spend this sort of time studying. In Germany I think that this is even more likely as students don't start university until they are 19 and I think bachelor degrees tend to take at least 4 years. Most of the medical students from the UK I meet are usually 23 years old. I was the same age when I started my first job.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    We usually start our university when we are 19 years old, which is the same as German students, and I began to work when I was 23 years old. I have to admit that medical students are really hard-working and their reference books are usually thick and heavy enough to beat someone, of course it is a joke, they never try to use their books to fight with someone, I think, or that person are dangerous. :# @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    I know how heavy medical books are @lisa, as a friend, a doctor donated a lot of her books to my charity to give to a small hospital in Nepal. It took forever to get volunteers to bring them out bit by bit. Most airlines only allow 20 kg of checked in luggage, so it wasn't easy to get them all across to Nepal.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    How poor you are! Did you carry those chunky books to Nepal? @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,060 mod
    I managed to get volunteers who were travelling to Nepal from London to lug them over @lisa. The doctor donating the books lives in London, so it was not too difficult to organise.
  • lisalisa Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭
    I think this is one of advantages of capital city, you can organise an activity easily, because there are lots of forums or organizations most of which are helpful and voluntary to offer help. @mheredge Maybe the infrastructures, convinced public transport, and other amenities are also attractive for people who have been used to them, of course, we must despite the congestion and expensive housing expense.
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