Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 11. 1964.
Editorial — Bridging The Gap
Bridging The Gap
School-University Liaison has for years been a big problem. On its adequacy rests the new student's opportunity to integrate himself in a balanced way into the new and very different university community he finds, after coming from school with its comparatively formal approach to education.
The level of knowledge and appreciation of a university's function has, it appears, a noticeable amount to do with whether a student who should, does or does not come to university.
Means of providing this link in New Zealand are not very extensive. With newspapers that tend to sensationalise the shortcomings of particular student activities, while in the main neglecting the more worthwhile and substantial aspects of campus life, secondary school pupils tend to miss the positive encouragement to enter university.
One of the positive attempts at bridging this gap between school and university is the annual series of visits to schools made by the university liaison officer and the Student's Association Tour of Schools team. This practice has met with notable success, gauged by the comments of former pupils. In a small and informal random survey made to verify the value of the tours, it appeared that most students felt that the work of the university liaison officer was valuable and that it was suitably complemented by the student team. The liaison officer is suited to giving the prospective student a guide to available courses, to accommodation possibilities and to other matters such as bursaries. The students, who by their very personalities would be more at home with the pupils, are able to give the other and very important aspect of campus life a showing. Holding the fresh awareness of what a university is like and lacking the complicating teacher-pupil ties which inhibit sixth formers from seeking information about some of the more, to them, embarrassing aspects of university life, the student groups have shown that they are able to partly fill a distinct need.
The effect has been shown by the number of schools who welcome the annual visit, by the reactions of the new students at the university, and possibly by the doubling in numbers of a stage one course over last year's rolls (considered to be due to the enthusiasm shown by one student to the senior pupils).
The considerable failure rate among first year students shows that the scheme is, of course, not completely adequate, although this phenonemon is no doubt due in large degree to other factors, to accommodation, to a lack of knowledge of how to study alone and to a lack of student counselling.
In the next few months another team will visit the schools in the lower half of the North Island to fulfil a function which in recent years has borne the brunt of a certain amount of justified and unjustified criticism.