Saturday, October 14, 2006

Why go to university?

Once every term, I meet with two friends from teachers' college. We have coffee and update each other on what we have been up to since our last meeting. Today, we had such a meeting and spent quite some time discussing the purpose of going to university.

I began by contrasting the American and Australian university systems. I am a big fan of the American model of generic bachelor degrees followed by a professional Master's degree. The university of Melbourne is moving towards such a system, and people are now referring to it as "the Melbourne model".

Lara asked Bill and me what we thought the purpose of a university was: to train people for jobs, further people's knowledge in a given field or raise the educational level of the general population. More and more universities in Melbourne are declaring their hand and defining themselves as training centres - even though they do not use that exact phrase.

Bill said that he would return to uni to do something different, while Lara said she would further her training by completing a primary teaching diploma. I, on the other hand, am falling in love with research. If I had the time ("If I were a rich man...") I would follow my current research master's with a phd. Then, I could join my sister-in-law in having "permanent head damage".

Why would you go (back) to university?

Elias