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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 21, No. 8. 2nd July, 1958

Editorial University Entrance

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Editorial University Entrance

It is somewhat reassuring to hear from the Hon. Minister of Education that his Government is particularly interested in allowing as many as have the aptitude to take University studies. This is particularly so in the light of a recent statement by the Professorial Board that the University may be driven within a short time to limit student enrolments.

The question of limiting student enrolments also raises the question of the University Entrance Examination. The suggestion which has been put forward that candidates should be examined in five subjects instead of four is undoubtedly a sound one, but one cannot fail to wonder about the advisability of making mathematics or a foreign language compulsory. Why should students who have no aptitude whatsoever for mathematics be penalised? Such students could well be potentially brilliant at the political and social sciences, at law, or at some other branch of human knowledge. To endeavour to restrict the University to mathematicians is a very materialistic approach to higher studies and a refusal to admit the existence of such a thing as culture.

And what earthly merit is there in advocating that a foreign language be made compulsory for University Entrance? Are students to be forced to study some archaic tongue (Greek, Latin, etc.) or some Continental language? Or is it also proposed that a more realistic attitude should be adopted towards our Asian neighbours and that students will have the opportunity to learn an Asian tongue ? One wonders.

Perhaps the best method of ensuring that students for the university are properly fitted for university studies is to abolish the accrediting system and make all the candidates sit the Entrance Examination. The weakness of a system which endeavours to do without a universal examination is that it fails to provide a fixed standard and leaves an avenue open for caprice and arbitrariness. Not only is the system open to anomalies, but it is itself an anomaly in an [unclear: educational]