The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

A University Ad That Doesn’t Act Like A University Ad. Or At Least Not A Typical One …

University drives me nuts.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive fan of education but as I’ve written many times before [ie: here, here and here] they’ve gone from being a place for learning, debate and discussion, to being a place that – according to all their advertising – wants to be a production line for the rich and successful in business.

From we to me, as it were.

The only thing that is worse than this is universities focus on profit rather than learning.

I’ve said this many times, but I find this horrific.

Education is an investment in more than the individual, but the country as a whole.

Their knowledge helps countries grow and prosper, but by governments ignoring that and encouraging Universities to look at what they do in terms of ‘how much can you make out of people’, everyone suffers.

And I include universities in that statement because there will come a time where people realise the value of their degree – especially in comparison to the debt it means they incur – will ultimately make them question if it was worth the effort.

And yet the universities keep pumping out ads saying they’re for the elite.

The next generation of business leaders.

The entrepreneurs and power brokers.

Even though that’s obviously bollocks given how many people go to university versus become the next Zuckerberg etc etc.

Which is why I liked this ad for the University of Pheonix.

Yes it taps into my sentimental bullshit, but I like it because it’s not about supreme business success, but giving you choices.

In a World where working in one industry for the rest of your life is becoming obsolete, the idea of preparing people to be able to adapt is a good one.

Because we are entering a period where for the majority of people, success will be about survival – which is tragic but that’s what happens when Governments view the younger generation as a cost rather than an investment in everyone’s brighter future.

22 Comments so far
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I’m up early so I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight I did say that the ad tapped into my ‘sentimental streak’ so there’s no need for you to do it too.

Comment by Rob

Glad you said it.

Comment by DH

Like you said it again knowing no one reads the whole length of your rants.

Comment by DH

Of course I know it … even I couldn’t be that stupid after you’ve all spent 10 years telling me that’s the case.

Comment by Rob

Thanks for starting the week off talking about our impending dystopian future.

Comment by DH

You’re welcome …

Comment by Rob

oh campbell you are a fucking sad bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

when do you talk about graduating from the school of fucking life. the shittest University out there. even worse than luton and if theres any justice in the world, that shithole doesnt have a university.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m not sure that is what the ad is trying to communicate. It should, but I think it might be saying what every other university is saying, just in a better way.

Comment by George

Even George thinks you’re wrong. That means you’re shit.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I did suspect as much … especially with that endline … but I’m choosing to ignore. So there. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Ahh, the famous planner delusion in full effect.

Comment by DH

You haven’t researched the history of the University of Phoenix have you? If you had, you might have found that it exemplifies everything you dislike about universities.

Comment by John

Thanks for pissing on my optimism.

Though George did it first, so you’re off the hook.

Comment by Rob

george has made me proud for the first fucking time in my life.

Comment by andy@cynic

And if I were eighteen, I wouldn’t dream of going to university these days.

Comment by John

I know. Isn’t that sad, but I understand why for all the reasons I’ve written about copious times before.

Comment by Rob

Because we are entering a period where for the majority of people, success will be about survival – which is tragic but that’s what happens when Governments view the younger generation as a cost rather than an investment in everyone’s brighter future. *Well Said*.

Furthermore Rob, there’s an ever present threat that if one doesn’t tow the consensus reality line one’s security is under threat. John Taylor Gatto is the go-to guy to understand why education has nothing to do with learning. Hope you get the time one day to listen. Be well matey: The Ultimate History Lesson: A Weekend with John Taylor Gatto

Comment by Charles Frith

the future of functional education is free and on demand (aka sciences). the future of emotional education is paid and earned through wrinkled pages and dialogue (aka the humanities).

Comment by charleseharrison

You have started this week with a bang Robert.

I agree with your assessment on education. Fortunately there are many underpaid and undervalued teachers who work tirelessly to ensure their students learn to the standards they need. My daughter is one of them.

Comment by Lee Hill

Well said Lee. Univeristy for all is not the answer. It’s all about school and good teachers should be paid in line with the economic value they generate i.e. a fortune.

Comment by John

The state of British universities makes me ill, they really are for the elite, those that run them, it would seem.
Just out of interest, what often gets missed about UK universities at their best isn’t just the teachers or the place, it’s actually the people you get to meet.
Admittedly I’ve seen the usual entitled public school rich kids, just as there’s a newer archetype who sees it as some sort of business investment as you say.
But there others who get so much out of meeting people with a different background or view, who get a much bigger vision of the world by making the most of those around them, in the teaching of course, which at its best is guided debate, but also from the social side of it.
There are other ways to create rounded, articulate, tolerant curious people who realise anyone isn’t as good as everyone, but universities at their best are not just about developing the brain, although I wish they’d stand up for the importance of thoughtful intelligence in a country that increasingly celebrates anything not simple or dumbed down as ‘expert’ or pretentious (as you say that’s better than elitism) they’re about developing the person
I wonder if universities might do better if they openly positioned the audience less as the next zuckerbergs genius types and more as people ready to earn their place in the world first (UK culture at least still sees them as flaneurs) a generation who want to experience the whole world, not a narrow view of it

Comment by northern

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