At last someone has noticed. Ministers have been accused by a teaching union of ‘dumbing down’ educational standards as well as presiding over the expansion of some of the more lunatic courses available at our universities. Since New Labour decided to turn higher education into a business with bums on seats, as opposed to impressive seats of learning, there has been a significant growth in the number of useless courses at higher education institutions.
Studying off-the-wall crap at PhD level may be all very well for some who aspire to earn a good living imbibing students with knowledge of peculiar subjects that have not a single shred of relevance to real life. As a graduate of two prestigious universities, I can honestly say that reality is checked in at the door – both in the opinions and attitudes of academic staff and students alike. Look at this example I found from one of my local universities. Dr Peter Woodcock of the University of Huddersfield is currently researching the ‘political philosophy of the Simpsons’. What? Is he joking? Is he actually getting funding for devoting time to this? To me, the Simpsons is a cartoon series which is about as funny as brain cancer (Americans do many things well; they do situation comedy appallingly!). The only philosophy I can see is the stunting of a person’s epistemological evolution to the degree where he or she finds such garbage either entertaining, relevant or concealing some sort of hidden political message.
What earthly use would a course on the philosophy of yellow animated characters with utterly stupid haircuts have to a prospective graduate in the real world? Can you imagine it?
‘Well Mr Evans, what makes you think you are suitable for the job of political advisor at Number 10’s Policy Unit?’
‘Hum, well I studied the political philosophy of the Simpsons at Huddersfield.’
This is one example of many. Trawl through the prospectuses of UK universities and you’ll see a myriad of pointless courses or pointless modules within courses. The lecturers don’t care. They’ve got their profession with a comfortable salary. What any prospective student must ask is: ‘Will I ever get the same stuffing my mind with irrelevant knowledge?’