ALL students at a leading university will have to undertake volunteer work and study subjects from the arts and sciences under an overhaul of its curriculum designed to provide a broader education and more socially aware graduates.I'm going to suggest that by 'broader education and socially aware graduates' it means indoctrinating those students that miss out on the wildly left wing views of liberal arts professors - science, maths etc students - with anti-capitalist, global warming, lefty feel good hooha that is completely useless to actually doing a professional job professionally.
In a first for an Australian university, Macquarie University vice-chancellor Steven Schwartz today will announce a partnership with Australia Volunteers International (AVI) that will create a mini peace corps, giving undergraduate students the opportunity to do volunteer work overseas.Would you care to hazard a guess as to whether AVI has a political leaning (which it shouldn't) and, if so, which way that lean is?
Called the Global Futures Program, it will develop programs with local communities throughout Australia, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Some form of community work will be compulsory for all undergraduate students at Macquarie under the new curriculum, to start in 2010.Compulsory? To give your labour and expertise away for free? You might be OK with that but it seems a bit strange that a compulsory activity is supported by an apparently volunteer organisation. Isn't philanthropy all about volunteering? Coerced philanthropy seems a bit of an oxymoron.
In addition, the university will require all undergraduate students to study subjects from the humanities, social sciences and sciences so that arts students must take science subjects and science students must take arts subjects.I'll make a prediction. Arts students - being as dumb as dog droppings in matters scientific (that's why they vastly outnumber science students in their belief in global warming) - will last a semester or two, kick up a stink and have the requirement dropped. Science students - having higher IQs than their dopey arts cousins - will work hard and struggle through the arts subjects but still pass. In this way they will not learn the lesson that the university is trying to indoctrinate but instead discover the totalitarian, coercive nature of the liberal arts establishment and the left in general.
The university, in northern Sydney, had also considered making the learning of a foreign language compulsory but it was not feasible at this stage.What language? Is the selection of the language going to compulsory also? What about Pidgin English? Or Icelandic? What about SMS? That seems to be all the rage these days.
Professor Schwartz told The Australian that the new curriculum was based on three themes of place, planet and participation, and was designed to provide students with a broader education than one geared solely to a vocation and getting a job.What happened to the three themes of reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic? How does place, planet and participation help someone doing a computing studies degree? Answer: not at all.
"Universities are more than just narrow vocational schools; they have the opportunity to change the world, to shape society and shape democracy," he said. "It's about education for life, not just for a job.So compulsory activity somehow shapes democracy? Universities would like to think they shape society but in spite of a massive onslaught against conservative ideas over the last 50 years the population still votes pretty much 50-50 right-left.
"We're trying to infuse the institution with more than just a utilitarian vocational mission as one that also makes difference to a more democratic and inclusive society."That's another point. Always beware leftists who use the term 'democratic'. It tends to be the last thing they have in mind.
Professor Schwartz said the new curriculum developed the university's commitment to social inclusion and equity, and fitted in with programs already in place at the university, such as MULTILIT, a remedial literacy program being used in Queensland's Cape York, and the Teach for Australia scheme. Macquarie University, in partnership with Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson's Cape York Institute, is developing the Teach for Australia program.Ah, social inclusion and equity. Now it's coming out. Left wing drivel of the type that has seen aboriginal society completely collapse over the last 30 years. Let's have more of that, shall we?
It is based on similar schemes in the US and Britain to recruit the brightest graduates to teach for a short time in disadvantaged schools before they start their professional careers.Recruit? I thought it was compulsory. Don't they mean 'conscript'?
Macquarie's focus on a broader education follows the restructure at Melbourne University, called the Melbourne Model and based on US college degrees, which offers six broad undergraduate degrees followed by a graduate professional degree in specialist areas such as law or medicine.I have lived all over the world including in impoverished countries in Asia and Africa. My view is that the government should pay for a gap year for all Australians after they've finished year 12 and before they go on to university in which they live in Calcutta or Albania or Nepal or Sudan just so they can get a look at the real world and see how lucky we are here.
Macquarie University arts student Jen Purcell, 22, has travelled to India twice as a volunteer to teach in schools in Rajasthan, the first time while still at high school, with World Vision.
In 2006, Ms Purcell returned to India of her own volition and lived in the slums alongside the children she taught.
"I cried for the first week. Every day I had to go back to a house with no electricity and limited water," she said.
"It was just so awful. To have to stay for another six or seven weeks, I thought I can't do it because it's nothing that I'm used to. But it was the best time of my life, even the bad bits."
Ms Purcell said the experience had changed the course of her life and she had returned to change her major from ancient history and was now looking to work in international aid and education.
But even for students who would continue with their original choice of profession, Ms Purcell thought all students would benefit from such an experience.
"In the increasingly globalised world that we live in, that ability to understand other cultures is a huge advantage for graduates."
Thanks to Ker-plunkian, Kevin, for bringing the article to my attention.