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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 1. 1969.

[Congress reports]

page 2

Close down the varsities

A Lecturer in political science at Victoria University, Mr. Chris Wainwright, believes that a possible solution to the problems faced by universities would be to close them down for a year.

His remarks followed an address on the role of universities in society, to students at Curious Cove.

A questioner asked Mr. Wainwright what solution he saw to problems facing the universities.

"One method would be to close down the universities for a year to have a look at them," Mr. Wainwright replied.

He envisaged during the shut-down period an exchange of ideas between students and staff as to the best method of changing the university system into an institution motivating the human spirit and not existing only as a service industry to the economy.

Pupils Cool On Army

A representative survey of New Zealand's sixth forms show that only 24 per [unclear: cent] of sixth formers are prepared to support a national army for New Zealand.

The survey also indicated that the conformist image of New Zealand youth is true, but that youth tends also to be anti-authoritarian.

A final result from the survey has yet to be correlated, but senior lecturer in education at Victoria University — Mr Jack Shallcrass—gave a preliminary glimpse of the result to students at Curious Cove.

The survey is an international one called "Mankind 2000" and is designed to establish the likely attitudes of people in the future.

It was implemented in New Zealand by Mr Shallcrass, who decided sixth form opinion would be among the more useful in presenting what attitudes might prevail in the future.

The results of the survey, which is being carried out throughout Europe and Britain among the 15-40 age-group, are due to be published at the end of this year.

"The general reaction to the question of a national army was: "Well, who does it frighten?'" Mr Shallcrass said.

On social questions sixth-formers generally held fast to established values they seemed to think were slipping. They believed values they seemed to think were slipping. They believed that more permissiveness would prevail in the future, the church would break down further, and that more women would achieve positions of responsibility. They were against much change.

"Our youngsters were shown to be a nice, cautious, fairly middle-aged group of people," Mr Shallcrass said.

He did not consider that the future would see the breakdown of the family and the church, and increases in sexual permissiveness which the survey subjects were wary of.

Compared to Europeans who had undergone the same survey, the image of New Zealand youth as conformists as "largely true".

The survey showed also that over 70 per cent, of sixth form students came from professional, skilled and white-collar homes.

"This shows that the education system reinforces the basic class structure of the economy," Mr Shallcrass said.

"It reveals a cultural shutting out of a very high order. Is it because the other students are unintelligent or because there are other cultural reasons? I think the reason is cultural, and the education system allows this to happen."

'Semi-literates' teaching

Producing qualified secondary school teachers is now more urgent than producing specialists like economists, Mr. Jack Shallcrass said at Congress.

Secondary schools were at present taking as staff "any semi-literate person of the street."

Fewer than half the staff at secondary schools were now graduates or had post-graduate qualifications.

"An increasing number have no academic qualifications," he said.

"You can't just say we want more economists, under-pinning all this is the need for a continuing flow of people with a broad education from the universities who can put back into the universities from which you are the cream."

Mr Shallcrass also said the role of the sixth form in secondary schools could be made terminal at the fifth form and the school certificate examination could be eliminated. This would leave the secondary schools the job of giving a broad general education — a process of exploration of the individual, not domination and destruction by an examination system which failed students at a ratio of two to one.

At the junior universities. intellectual requirements should be made tough and demanding in the academic tradition as the students progress. Teachers within these colleges should help people decide whether their talents were best suited to a technical institute or to a university.

The Congress reports on this page were compiled by Geoff Chappell for the New Zealand Student Press Association.

Ideology break advocated

New Zealand universities must choose a public course and, if necessary, refuse to serve the prevailing ideology of their society, Mr Chris Wainwright, said at Congress.

He called the "preferential neutralism" by which universities refrained from criticism a "hypocritical device" supporting the present social powers.

"It is not a violation of a university that some part of its actions serve society, but the university must determine through its own critical agency that the society it serves is a place in which the spirit of man can be nutured and advanced," he said.

"Today, the university is required to condemn the Government for its collusion with the Unisted States in its war against the people of South Vietnam."

Mr Wainwright said that universities had come increasingly to serve technology, and this led to the rise of insular specialists.

"The university comes increasingly to be populated by scholar-researchers who more closely resemble idiot-savants than men of wisdom."

The effect of this division to stifle social consciousness and the need for radical change.