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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 8. 10 June 1970

Students more vocal

Students more vocal

But it is good to have the students becoming more vocal and less passive about the quality of the courses and their presentation. I have little sympathy for notions of student government (let's remember the fate of Bologna) but I do most strongly believe that it is important to get student reactions fed back to the letturing staff and not less important that staff respond constructively.

Students have, of course, various motives for coming to university. They may see the university as a purveyor of meal tickets, as the first remove from the blight of parental control, as a marriage bureau, as a fun-house for a few years, as a place for a better education, as a mere postponement of the difficult derision of "What shall I do?" It is probably a fair guess that most come to it as a stepping stone to a job. But for many in arts and science the vision of "job' is ill-resolved, fuzzy, lacking in focus. The university probably does not help much in sharpening up the picture. Indeed it may simply blur it further. In this respect we do the student poor service. I may have given the impression earlier that I am totally opposed to the general B.A. This I am not. But I cannot think that all of those enrolled in arts, and they amount to one third of the student population at Auckland, are best served by such a programme of study. Most would, I think, welcome some clearer vocational goals and a range of courses leading to them. It may be that the general B.A. should be taken by many. It may also be that the kind of vocational studies I have advocated are best done as post-bachelors' diplomas. But I myself, however, incline to the view that the vocational teaching should not be postponed as long as that. I think it would best appear in the second year of study, after the first 'filtration' year has been passed. I would make similar comments in respect of the B.Sc. The growing stream of B.Sc's crossing to engineering indicates that the students themselves feel a lack in their science degree when they view it as a preparation for industrial employment. Courses in applied aspects of the main physical sciences could fill valuable gaps in the science curricula.

As a final comment on the university's duty to its students I should like to point out what is often forgotten in public criticism of the universities, namely that the university scholar in fulfilling his duly to his students is at the same time serving society outside. These students of his will enter the community, and in doing so, will make their contribution to it throughout their lives.

To conclude this somewhat discursive talk I should like to touch on two of the questions that I posed earlier. The first of these was "Does the university have a port to play in political affairs?" and the second was "Is the university an instrument of social justice?"