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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 1, No. 8 May 5, 1938

Real Education — What W.E.A. Offers

Real Education

What W.E.A. Offers

It is not only by accident that the halls of a university are known as cloisters. Academic seclusion has been the assiduous vice of universities for centuries vice which has proliferated hideously till today we have all institution whose concern with real problems has ceased.

Here and there small contingents of scholars ferret away at problems which everyone except themselves has stopped even recognising.

Outside the university lies a world gone berserk—situation follows situation in which clear-headed and well-informed opinion is urgently needed.

And all the universities can do, even when they stand face to face with this Bedlam is to avert their pretty eyes, and churn out a steady procession of case-hardened accountants and slippery lawyers not forgetting an occasional handful of amoral technologists (spoken of in the more respectful type of textbook as scientists).

I Trouble.

If breakdown were less imminent one could laugh at the sorry dishevelment. As it is the situation grows steadily more serious. Through years of training! university students have contracted a social and cultural myopia. The average university course stands as one of the surest guarantees of a lop-sided approach to non-monastic living that you could hope for.

Realising all this, a glance at the lecture courses of the Workers Educational Association (Victoria Collage District) comes as a [unclear: reassur][gap — reason: illegible] problems of war and peace or money and mortgages of capitalism and socialism and the rest are the real problems of grown-up people. So, too with the arts. We shall not be civilised a any real sense till the mass of ordinary people have learnt the transforming effect of adequate standards in our houses and furniture the music we make and enjoy our cinema programs our speaking and within and broadcasting, and demand these things as a matter of course."


What is this Workers Educational Association—with such a liberal and well-planned approach?

Founded in 1908 by English tradeunionists and co-operators the W.E.A. came to New Zealand in 1915. Its first students were working men and women, who called in university teachers to help them to the knowledge they wanted for the building of a better world. Beginning thus with an emphasis on souls and economic studies, the movement widened before long to include other fields of knowledge which It was realized were essential to a humane way of living—literature, music, and the arts.


In New Zealand particularly it has also attracted many outside the ranks of the working class. But, while identified with no party or creed. Its mission as a force for social development is central to its character.

Of late, several W.E.A. Centers, including Wellington, have been engaged in a drive for Trade Union affiliations to the District Council and increased Trade Union membership in W.E.A. classes. In Wellington alone affiliations have been increased from half-a-dozen to over twenty, and there are encouraging signs of increased attendance of Unionists at the various classes.


There must be numerous student at V.U.C. who realize the limitations cf their cultural interests and are eager to take advantage of any opportunity to extend them. Here, in the W.E.A. courses, is something worth [unclear: while for W.E.A. [gap — reason: illegible] are friendly] co-operative affairs in which one continually bumps up against all manner of non-academic points of view. No more healthy corrective could be asked for.

Here is a list old some of this year's course:—
  • As Others See Us: Differing National Viewpoints.

— Prof. G. W. von Zedlitz.

  • 150 Years of Work and Wages: A Study of Social aim Industrial History

—Dr. W B. Sutch.

  • Economic Planning.

—Mr. F. B. Stevens.

  • Popular Literature Today.

— Mr. W. J. Scott

  • Drama—Yesterday and Today.

—Mr. R. Hogg.

  • Art and Everyday life today.

—Mr. E. C. Simpson.


A full W.E.A. Syllabus wil be found on he College Notice Board.