I enjoyed my time at university. It was definitely a time to develop my skills and grow. It helped me to strengthen my critical thinking, as well as the ability to research and analyse information. Of course, university did not turn me into a woke social justice warrior who changes pronouns every 10 seconds and panics about climate change. Instead, I headed in the other direction. Going to Wellington’s Victoria University was definitely an experience I would never forget.
However, it was interesting that the university seemed to tacitly approve of criticism of itself. This included the often-scathing commentary and content about the university administration in the pages of Salient, the snarky comments found in VUW Meaningful Confessions and the satire of university life in the annual Wellington Law Revue.
So it was a surprise to hear about the downsizing of our universities and the proposed staff cuts. What could be the cause of it? Could it be the financial mismanagement of our illustrious vice chancellors and their pet projects?
It didn’t take long to find out that universities have experienced a drop in enrolments. Fewer enrolments mean less money coming in, which means university administrations have needed to have a serious think about where the money is going.
However, it seems that the answer could be simpler. Generation Z are realising that they do not need a degree to get a job. They have woken up to the fact that university degrees have lost the prestige and value that they once held in the labour market. That employees are not looking for degrees, but for skills and experience that young people do not have to go to university for.
This phenomenon is happening at the same time as the decline in American colleges and the surge in Christian colleges. Surveys are finding that more and more young people would rather go to a Christian college instead of a secular college. This has been attributed to the younger generations becoming more conservative than even the World War Two generation.
We also have a phenomenon known as “degree inflation”, meaning that the number of people participating in the labour market with degrees has decreased the value of those degrees, since employers now have to consider which graduate with a bachelor’s they will hire. This could also perhaps explain the increase in people pursuing post-graduate studies, because they need something that gives them a competitive advantage.
The university was created by the church to find and share knowledge as part of the mission to understand God’s creation. Originally there were only three subjects: law, medicine and theology. And from those, other fields of research developed to help gain a better understanding of the world and society. Unfortunately, it seems the universities have lost their original purpose of rigorous inquiry and critical analysis, and now seem hell bent on pushing their ideas on the rest of the world. Under the guise of ‘understanding the world’, our academics spend their time complaining about society and expressing contempt for the uneducated masses. Thus it is not a surprise that secular liberalism, cultural Marxism and demands for more government control over our lives are now coming out of our universities. University degrees have gone from qualifications needed in order to do a good job to becoming a licence for telling everyone else how they should act, think and live, and why you are the best person to tell them so.
Perhaps it is time to say goodbye to our universities and to dance upon their ashes. Universities have become a factory for the woke, ruined a generation and taught people useless things that do not help them to survive in the real world.
After all, the best place that a person can get educated in is life itself.