The LSU Top 5 #4

This is the fourth of our weekly Top 5 links to the most interesting bits and pieces we’ve found from around the internet.

Try, Try Again

Is George Mason learning from RMIT? The university (a publicly-funded institution based in Fairfax, Virginia) pulled out from investing in the UAE and has committed to setting up in Songdo, South Korea. Tuition starts at $20,000 USD with offerings in two discipline areas and more set to come.

Link

How Publishers Feather Their Nests on Open Access to Public Money

Publishers of academic journals enjoy health profit margins, as much as 53% in some cases. This article looks closely at one publisher with a net operating profit margin of 27% and how it could benefit even more from the movement towards public funding for open-access journals in the UK.

Harvard University recently told faculty members to make their research freely available and to consider resigning from publications that keep articles behind paywalls.

Link

Why Australia needs an Asian Century Institute

One for those who like riding waves. Not the ones that break on you and drive your head straight into the sand, but rather ones of the Asian variety like the Korean Wave and all other things cultural. This article outlines a vision for an Asian Century Institute in Australia which calls for more of a focus on cross-cultural philosophy and an expansion of the notion of what it means to be Asian, and less on the stockpiling of bombs and dollars.

Influencing universities to embrace learning outcomes: Why JOBS is a dirty four letter word

Jobs schmobs! Who needs ‘em?! Be careful uttering this little nasty around campus or you might just get that old school clip around the ears headmasters dished out in the ‘olden days’. This article yells from the rooftops that the relationship between universities and jobs is more of a side-effect than a primary goal and that universities equip us with much more important skills like the ones we use to choose a life partner. This one is big on LIFE and ‘disses’ JOBS as an offensive four letter slur. Warning – don’t read this one out aloud.

Passivity cripples

This is a little opinion piece from The Hindu in India that echoes the sentiment of the above article, but in a more roundabout kind of way providing, among other things, a comparison of how we humans differ from other beasts out there, particularly in the way we socialise. Hmm…anyway, what’s this got to do with education? Well, it tells us that education is all about social transformation and that harder questions need to be asked of India’s education system as to whether it’s empowering people socially in a rapidly developing region of our world.

3 responses to “The LSU Top 5 #4”

  1. Stephen McGrath says :

    It is almost irresponsible to publish a link to a post declaring that University is not for the purposes of getting a job – particularly from within a country that will not grant a work permit to experienced, qualified, suitable candidates unless they also hold a University degree. Perhaps this article is satire, and should be linked to as such. ;-)

    Does one gain exposure to real life, and therefore develop better life skills and become a more well-rounded person via attending University, directly after they complete High School? Absolutely not. In most cases, University develops theoretical skills that are expected to be found in any adult human being with a few years of life experience under their belt. Furthermore, it sets them up to be immediately accepted into the workforce, given that they’ve also been lucky enough to be surrounded, during their 3-4 years of institutionalization, by high quality family and peers who helped them develop maturity and a better than average sense of responsibility.

    Of course University is for jobs. It always will be while employers, organizations and governments declare that a degree is essential to even be considered for a role.

    We need to push for change in those who decide what makes a suitable employee, not those responsible for providing the actual education.

    • LSUvietnam says :

      Hi Stephen,

      The first point we’d like to address is that the philosophy behind The LSU Top 5 is to provide a short summary of five articles we’ve come across in the past week or so that in some way helps to better inform our readers of prevailing attitudes, ideas, innovations, research, etc. in Higher Education around the world – basically ‘what’s out there’. By doing so, in no way do we endorse the content of these articles, unless otherwise stated. As to whether this practice is irresponsible or not, we’re not entirely sure as to who this would be irresponsible to. If it’s referring to our students, one of the many skills we encourage them to develop and that we provide advice on is to engage critically with arguments and opinions and to make well informed decisions for themselves as to the validity of such arguments and opinions.

      Regarding your second point, we certainly agree that the student who goes to university straight out of high school isn’t necessarily going to be a more well-rounded person than the student who doesn’t upon graduation. However, going to university certainly exposes people to experiences that they may never have been exposed to had they not. Among those are being involved in clubs and committees, and for the first time ever on our campus this year, a very well organised and fair democratic election to form the first student council took place. Another example here is that our students living on campus in our dormitory are quite possibly learning a whole bunch of life skills that the rest of the population is not, which may quite possibly equip them better than most others in their future endeavors. This is worthy of mention given the increasing number of international students currently living among them.

      Finally, it appears by the end of your comment that in some way you do agree with the article in that as institutions, universities may have lost their way a little bit in their focus on learning and have forgotten that gaining a degree shouldn’t simply be all about kowtowing to industry, but rather, more about equipping graduates with a set of skills that are transferable across all spheres of life.

      Cheers for your comment!

      The LSU

      • Stephen McGrath says :

        In reading your reply it occurred to me that I had written from the perspective of an Australian, or more accurately, from my knowledge of Australian culture. You are right that the experience one gains by studying with RMIT Vietnam is likely to be a radical improvement on the alternative – whether that be within Vietnamese universities or by directly joining the workforce here.

        Ultimately, I do agree with what I believe to be the underlying message in that article, and definitely with your final paragraph, but felt the article went about it in a far too snooty-nosed, academic manner.

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