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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 12. September 6, 1954



In its report on University Development from 1947 to 1952 (at page 12) no less a body than the British University Grants Committee which surveys all the British Universities made this comment:

"The motives for which students enter universities have always varied, but nowadays the great majority particularly of the men, regard a university course as a means of aquiring the necessary qualifications for a career. This is not only true of science and medicine. For Arts students also a University degree is commonly a means of chaining employment. Social and economic changes in recent yearn, as well as the ever expanding demand for experts of all kinds, have tended to emphasise the vocational aspect of university education."

Several blacks do not make a white and I doubt not that we should all like to aid our students to achieve breadth of view as well as depth of knowledge. On this matter, the British University Grants Committee made this comment which we should all do well to heed:

"Yet the broader purposes of a university education were never more important than they are today. Society requires of the university graduate much more than his degree or his expert knowledge in a particular field. It also requires the breadth of outlook necessary for those Who are to fill positions Of responsibility, and a university cannot be said to have risen to the height of its obligations until it has designed its teaching as to ensure for all of its students who use their opportunities the chance to become, in words spoken by J. S. Mill more than eighty years ago, 'capable and cultivated human being'."

Then it is correct, as Sir John Stopford says, that our students have almost no idea of the kind of corporate life that is peculiar to Universities and be vital a part of the blessings which they bestow? it is correct that the Quality of our university education is reduced, as both Sir John and Professor Dunham seem to think, by the existence of our typo of part-time students? On this matter, having been for a greater part of my own law course a part-time student, I have an opinion. At great cost in time and labour, a part-time student living at home or in lodgings, can undertake his University course, can participate in the principal College societies and can make life-long friends and can talk till the small hours on all subjects under the sun and can enjoy it all immensely. His academic achievement may not be high but so long as he has learnt how to study he may pursue his professional studies in his postgraduate years. I think, however, that comparatively few part-timers are prepared to pay the price required for combining hand study with substantial participation in College life and that part-time students in general tend, consequently, to regard the University mainly as a kind of vocational training school.

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If this criticism of our type of part-time student is valid, is there any remedy? Would it be desirable and practicable to encourage our part-time students to become part-time students of the American type? Could they be encouraged to earn enough money during the College vacations to enable them to maintain themselves during the College sessions? Would some College fund to assist students who feel the pinch on this basin of study, be desirable if it could be obtained and if it could be administered in confidence?