Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A Universal Truth

So, who knew? Going to second-rate universities to gain rubbish degrees in made-up subjects is no guarantee of a job? I've been saying this for years and years. (And years) If I'm honest I probably wasn't really university material either. But at least when I went up it was as part of a genuinely small minority to do so. Having a degree opened doors back then.

While I was there I encountered a mysterious breed of nocturnal creature – the MBA student. The Masters in Business Administration was a feared and coveted award and its shadowy apostles would work late into the night to meet ferocious deadlines. Most of the devotees were much older than we and being from overseas gave us our first contact with the fierce work ethic of the orient.

Twenty years later, when I took my own master’s degree, I learned that this once mighty ball-breaker had become almost the entry level for many management jobs and the often mediocre students frequently had little or no experience in any kind of paid employment.
At what point did the cart start dragging the horse? When did the system decide that if we opened up education to deliver infinite choices for niche courses with no prospect of employment, this would somehow benefit our workforce? Or the country, for that matter? 

Oh, silly me, neither of those have anything to do with it, have they? No qualification makes a blind bit of difference if the aptitude or the interest is not there in the first place; it’s all about pandering to the gods of diversity and inclusion. (And massaging the youth unemployment figures.) 

In the Olympic park right now are many athletes little more than children, who have sacrificed much to achieve their goals. They have put in true, hard work in pursuit of little reward, for few of them will go on to make a living out of their passion. Once we would have universally applauded their efforts, win or lose, but such endeavours mean nothing to the sort of idiot who tweeted hurtful scorn at young Tom Daley for missing out on a bronze medal in the synchro diving 

Twitter put on its best bonnet of outrage and went on the warpath, illiterate insults were traded for impotent threats, the subject trended worldwide and pretty soon the police were on the case. Really? Is this how we do things now? Is that what the Internet is for? 

Much has been made about how, in the ‘Information Age’, children don't need knowledge when they can Google everything. Strange, then, that all this technological empowerment seems to throw up remarkably few modern Leonardos, Faradays, Darwins or Brunels. I venture that it would take mere days for any of those great men to gain mastery of the keyboard and rather than be at a disadvantage against today’s tech-savvy kids they would wipe the floor with them. 

You can’t polish a turd, make a silk purse from a sow’s ear or improve a pig with lipstick. So let’s put away the cosmetics and pick up the scrubbing brush; scrub away all this entitlement bullshit and get back to some decent, honest hard work and discipline. 

Maybe then we’ll end up with a few more Tom Daleys and fewer of the sort of idiots who will believe codswallop like this

No, seriously... they are the future!

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