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Forums > Social Discussion > the state of education today

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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide

Total posts: 2474
Posted:ok so i know that if you have lots of money you have always been able to buy your university degree .... but heres the thing, my mum does exam supervision and at one of the exams she was supervising one of the overseas students called her over asking for help because he wasnt able to read the instructions on the front cover ..... not he was having trouble with one of the words on there he simply couldnt understand the instructions on the front page end of story ..... i mean really wtf like seriously surely if your going to university in a country that speaks a different language you should atleast be required to be able to speak and read the language

*shakes head*

and while im ranting about the state of education this guy did his phd in "the importance of food and wine in the life of don dunston" (former premier) but i mean really how is that a phd topic, theres guys in the physics department shooting tiny sub atomic particles with lazers and doing cool really hard stuff and at the end of the day they both get the title of dr. i mean really wheres the incentive to do something hard and innovative??? its just not right /end rant


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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Kyrian


Dreamer
Location: York, England

Total posts: 4308
Posted:Yeah, and my grandparents can't understand why I won't get a degree at a local college. I can't think of a bigger waste of several years of my life. Really, I'm taking enough of a gamble at york, methinks.

Have you seen phd comics? Its (according to friends very accurate) about life as a grad student at stanford, and it really depresses you... just in case you had any hope the education system was still useful.....


Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

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Ade
SILVER Member since Mar 2001

Are we there yet?
Location: australia

Total posts: 1897
Posted:I think there is great merit in any PhD topic. eek Yep, even the life and times of Don's stomach, the intepretive moves of the brazillian butterfly, or the postmodern interpretation of the theme's of Dante's Inferno...

It all adds to the body of knowledge we have in the world.

There is value in producing results that can be applied to the world immediately, and there is value in exploring our past, producing nothing and just thinking and adding to our understanding of the world.

A PhD is about a unique contribution to the body of knowledge, not about producing innovation.


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Patriarch917
SILVER Member since Oct 2005

Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Total posts: 607
Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men


ok so i know that if you have lots of money you have always been able to buy your university degree .... but heres the thing, my mum does exam supervision and at one of the exams she was supervising one of the overseas students called her over asking for help because he wasnt able to read the instructions on the front cover ..... not he was having trouble with one of the words on there he simply couldnt understand the instructions on the front page end of story ..... i mean really wtf like seriously surely if your going to university in a country that speaks a different language you should atleast be required to be able to speak and read the language




ubblol You would like Ph.D candidates to learn English, while people are threatening to sue an American restaurant for asking customers to do the same.

Isnt that discriminatory? You would provide a blind student with a brail test, or a wheelchair bound one with a ramp to the testing room. Why not let people take tests or order food in the language they prefer? Why should the host country get to pick the official language?

wink


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Rouge Dragon
BRONZE Member since Jul 2003

Rouge Dragon

Insert Champagne Here
Location: without class distinction

Total posts: 13215
Posted:I do agree that there is merit in a wide range of PHD topics, but I think someones gastronomics is just a tad crap. It's getting a PHD for the sake of getting a PHD. My Spanish tutor is doing his on a little known poet because he loves the knowledge and the poet, the "dr" just comes with it. But seriously, who the hell cares about what a former premier ate for elevenses?

i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

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Birgit
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 4145
Posted:Maybe, for some reason, the guy is actually interested in that wink

I see what you mean about the language, my friend's just complained that some Americans and some Spanish at his (German) institute complain that not all lectures are held in English ubblol

As if having more than half of them, both to help internationals and to help the Germans learn scientific English, wasn't enough!! I mean, if I went to registry here and demanded ANYTHING in German they'd laugh at me and tell me I should've signed up for German, not toxicology. Like my friend complained that everyone in Norway spoke "foreign" ubblol


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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Ade
SILVER Member since Mar 2001

Are we there yet?
Location: australia

Total posts: 1897
Posted: Written by: Rouge Dragon


It's getting a PHD for the sake of getting a PHD.



and what's wrong with that? shrug

I can't think of a better reason really to do a PhD, just for personal satisfaction and a contribution to the body of knowledge in the world.

the more obscure, the better I say ubbloco ubbrollsmile

If you want to produce results that are useful in the world - go to TAFE wink ubblol


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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide

Total posts: 2474
Posted: Written by: Ade


A PhD is about a unique contribution to the body of knowledge, not about producing innovation.


by that logic anyone who has ever written an autobiography should get a phd to confused


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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FoxInDocs
SILVER Member since Jul 2005

FoxInDocs

Pooh-Bah
Location: Adelaide, SA

Total posts: 1848
Posted: Written by: Ade


If you want to produce results that are useful in the world - go to TAFE wink ubblol



Hear, hear!


"i am exotic, and must keep my arms down" - Rougie

"i don't understand what penises have to do with getting married" - Foxie

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wonderloey


wonderloey

enthusiast
Location: Melbourne - home of pirates

Total posts: 255
Posted:LMFAO...

I'd like to think that you go to uni to learn something rather than disappear up your own ar$e..

I'd love to go to TAFE.. they won't teach me what I want to learn, dammit!


"You've gone from Loey the Wonder Lesbian to everyone wondering if you are a lesbian." - Shadowman

Yesterday is yesterday. If we try to recapture it, we will only lose tomorrow.

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Ade
SILVER Member since Mar 2001

Are we there yet?
Location: australia

Total posts: 1897
Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men


 Written by: Ade


A PhD is about a unique contribution to the body of knowledge, not about producing innovation.


by that logic anyone who has ever written an autobiography should get a phd to confused



Not quite - but if it was done to the rigourous academic standard that is accepted now for the completion of PhD canditure, then sure, why not? If it is done using accepted research methodology, and can contribute to the public record through original research, then yep, why not?

ubbrollsmile


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Ade
SILVER Member since Mar 2001

Are we there yet?
Location: australia

Total posts: 1897
Posted: Written by: wonderloey


I'd like to think that you go to uni to learn something rather than disappear up your own ar$e..




the longer you hang around adacemic institutions, and the more you study one particular subject area, then, well, the ar$e scenario becomes increasingly likely...

eek ubblol ubbangel


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Rozi
SILVER Member since Jan 2002

100 characters max...
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Total posts: 2996
Posted:ditto

And considering how long you have been institutionalised... wink

I would actually say ditto on the other points too. I am increasingly worried by the drive to ensure that only "useful" study and research is done. It seems this comes from decreased government funding and increased need for corporate sector sponsorship.

Okay, the eating and drinking habits of Don Dunstan is almost as massively frivolous as his love of safari suits. But it is a short step from that to so much art and english study, which does not really serve a purpose outside that field. The point there is definitely about adding to the sum of human knowledge.


It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide

Total posts: 2474
Posted: Written by: Ade

Not quite - but if it was done to the rigourous academic standard that is accepted now for the completion of PhD canditure, then sure, why not? If it is done using accepted research methodology, and can contribute to the public record through original research, then yep, why not?


if through original historical research someone where to discover something that resulted in a significant shift of conventional thinking with a new paradigm then i can see how that would constitute a contribution to human knowledge, however writing about something that already known such as don dunstons love of food and wine imho is not a valid contribution for a phd and deminishes the value of higher education.

 Written by: Ade

Not quite - but if it was done to the rigourous academic standard that is accepted now for the completion of PhD canditure, then sure, why not?


you cant be serious? equating research done by someone working on a cure for cancer with that done by someone writing a glorified autobiography by awarding the same level of degree lowers the value of the degree earned for cancer research imho

 Written by: Rozi


I would actually say ditto on the other points too. I am increasingly worried by the drive to ensure that only "useful" study and research is done. It seems this comes from decreased government funding and increased need for corporate sector sponsorship.


if the importance of food and wine in the life of don dunston is what does it for you, cool write a book, enjoy studying it for the love of study. im not saying dont do it, im saying its not appropriate phd material. Universities are supposed to be institutions of learning and new ideas, by letting anyone with enough money buy their degree or do a substandard project it taints the value of university education.

The point of research is to fill gaps in the literature not to rehash old information. this is another example of what is not appropriate for a phd, even as a masters project its a bit iffy. yes it hasnt been done before sucessfully in the published literature however the content of the problem is not sufficent to warrent a phd (the research committee rejected her application to upgrade from a masters degree to a phd for that very reason) as anyone with a knowledge of the area could solve it over the weekend. Research isnt for everyone if your not able to do it your not able to do it its that simple.


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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maus
BRONZE Member since Mar 2017

maus

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Sihanoukville, cambodia

Total posts: 4191
Posted:Hmmm......i can kinda see both sides of the coin on this one.



Don't get me wrong i think having the freedom to do a PhD in a subject that genuinely interests you is fantastic. Not enough people actually enjoy the education they put themselves through, and anyone who can should go for it.



The other side of it though is I think it almost devalues the term Dr. slightly.

Dr.'s as a general rule are highly respected people, now I'm not saying you don't deserve the same amount of respect if you're not a Dr. or you are, but its in a very absurd area, not at all,



however....



 Written by: Ade



 Written by: ben-ja-men



 Written by: Ade



A PhD is about a unique contribution to the body of knowledge, not about producing innovation.



by that logic anyone who has ever written an autobiography should get a phd to confused





Not quite - but if it was done to the rigourous academic standard that is accepted now for the completion of PhD canditure, then sure, why not? If it is done using accepted research methodology, and can contribute to the public record through original research, then yep, why not?



ubbrollsmile





I disagree with your point Ade, although i can fully understand where you are coming from.

I fully agree that a PhD is a unique contribution to the body of Knowledge, but I also think that it should be innovative.



And as for the autobiography part- confused Hmm...still working out what i think on that one so will get back to you! smile


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Birgit
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 4145
Posted:Well, I don't think it's wrong to research stuff like that, IF you're actually interested in it. But a PhD? Not sure...

There's an urban legend at my German uni about a dentist who got his Dr.-title by writing 3 pages about the hygienic storage of toothbrushes - I'm not sure if it's true. Even if it's true, it may be important enough for dentistry to be valid.

But to someone who's doing 3 or even 5 years of hard work it seems a bit ironic... even the medics' doctorates were usually literature summaries and took them 6 months!


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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Domino
SILVER Member since May 2004

UnNatural Scientist - Currently working on a Breville-legged monkey
Location: Bath Uni or Shrewsbury, UK

Total posts: 757
Posted: Written by: Patriarch917


ubblol You would like Ph.D candidates to learn English, while people are threatening to sue an American restaurant for asking customers to do the same.




On a side note, I've just read the Wikipedia article on cheesesteaks. Sounds like, if done right, they could be good but the picture in the article looks foul.


Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand and I can beat the world into submission.

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Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men



ok so i know that if you have lots of money you have always been able to buy your university degree .... but heres the thing, my mum does exam supervision and at one of the exams she was supervising one of the overseas students called her over asking for help because he wasnt able to read the instructions on the front cover ..... not he was having trouble with one of the words on there he simply couldnt understand the instructions on the front page end of story ..... i mean really wtf like seriously surely if your going to university in a country that speaks a different language you should atleast be required to be able to speak and read the language



*shakes head*







These people come here, get their degrees, then go back to whereever their from. Speaking English isn't a priority. There are lots of skill shortages in Australia because the uni positions are being bought.



 Written by: ben-ja-men



and while im ranting about the state of education this guy did his phd in "the importance of food and wine in the life of don dunston" (former premier) but i mean really how is that a phd topic, theres guys in the physics department shooting tiny sub atomic particles with lazers and doing cool really hard stuff and at the end of the day they both get the title of dr. i mean really wheres the incentive to do something hard and innovative??? its just not right /end rant







The world is full of useless bullshit. Advertising, gambling, lawyers, accountants, direct marketing, people that fix problems that really shouldn't need to be fixed, fat cat executives/business owners, and millions of crappy books and movies that noone will ever read. Lots of these people are probably richer than you or I will ever be. Noone ever said life is fair.


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faith enfire
BRONZE Member since Mar 2017

faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin

Total posts: 3556
Posted:just because you don't find it important does not mean it is not important to other people
maybe when studying his digestive habits they find an unknown bacteria or discover a plant that was not supposed to be there
my friend is studying the feminist literary gothic movement
not interesting or important to you but absolutely fascinating to his field, showing the roles of different works in the pre-1900's feminist movement actually influenced the one most of us think of now


Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men


ok so i know that if you have lots of money you have always been able to buy your university degree .... but heres the thing, my mum does exam supervision and at one of the exams she was supervising one of the overseas students called her over asking for help because he wasnt able to read the instructions on the front cover ..... not he was having trouble with one of the words on there he simply couldnt understand the instructions on the front page end of story ..... i mean really wtf like seriously surely if your going to university in a country that speaks a different language you should atleast be required to be able to speak and read the language

*shakes head*

and while im ranting about the state of education this guy did his phd in "the importance of food and wine in the life of don dunston" (former premier) but i mean really how is that a phd topic, theres guys in the physics department shooting tiny sub atomic particles with lazers and doing cool really hard stuff and at the end of the day they both get the title of dr. i mean really wheres the incentive to do something hard and innovative??? its just not right /end rant



You have clearly identified the 588426th and 588427th thing wrong with the state of education today.

wink


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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jeffhigh
GOLD Member since Oct 2005

Member
Location: Caves Beach, NSW

Total posts: 89
Posted:Have to agree with you Ben.
Having to explain the instructions seems like way too much help.
Entry into a university degree should not be a guarantee of completion.
Back in the mid 70's when I did engineering, half the first year class did not return for second year.
It should be a challenge
Frivolous Phd topics like that devalue higher education and just give the government another excuse to cut funding.


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Kieron
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

Member


Total posts: 232
Posted:"These people come here, get their degrees, then go back to whereever their from. Speaking English isn't a priority. There are lots of skill shortages in Australia because the uni positions are being bought. "



I'd say being able to understand the education is indeed a priority, wasting time and money failing because you can't seems a bit pointless. I also personally find it a priority for others to be able to understand the language used, have you tried doing group work with someone who you can't understand and who's work is probably bad even if you could translate it in to some actually readable form?



I don't mind so much if people are wasting their own time, though it does have other indirect effects on the education, but when it effects others in such a direct way then I see a problem.



However personally I see a lot more problems with the education system in the UK that are a far greater problem.

EDITED_BY: Kieron (1150610986)


"I'm quite good at darts, though i often miss" - Kylie

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alien_oddity


alien_oddity

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: in the trees

Total posts: 7193
Posted:*needs not say much but points out his sig*









WELCOME TO JAMROCK wink


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Kathain_Bowen


Kathain_Bowen

Good Ol' Yarn For Hair
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA

Total posts: 422
Posted:.....I love your sig. I really do.

I went to a high school that was ranked on News Week's "Public School Elite" list (apparently, our test scores were "too consistently high" to put us on the national top 100 list, so they made a separate list of fifty schools like that). We used our combined connections to figure out, however, we also had the highest drug and alcohol abuse out


"So long and thanks for all the fish."

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:are public schools where you live "privately owned" or are they owned by the Gov.?

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3288
Posted:eh - by definition a Phd is a contribution to the body of knowledge. just because you dont understand how its contributing to the body of knowledge doesnt mean it's not (phew thats a lot of negatives for one sentence smile).

I think its a little bit disrespectful for people to judge the contributions of others without having any idea about the complexities of the subject area in question.

For example I had a friend who was doing a Phd in Philosophy and the subject matter she was thinking about was almost incomprehensible to anyone who hadn't studied postgrad philosophy. No chance of it being profitable - so by a lot of the reasoning here it shouldnt have been done. I wonder where our modern science would be today without the contributions of philosophers from as far back as the ancient greeks - and yet philosophy is the first subject to cop crap as being useless, and is being squeezed out of universities to make more room for profit / vocational oriented studies.

If the research is being done to be financially profitable it should be being done in private industry. If the research isnt profitable (eg Don Dunstan's eatng habits) then it *belongs* in the Public Uni system - contributing to the general knowledge of human kind. Perhaps DD's eating habits have actually had a profound and long lasting effect on our society that is so subtle we will never realise it until we have the computing power to crunch all the factors involved. Without the ground-breaking analytical research being done by this person we might never know smile

I think the only scientific research that gets any public money should be directly related to the public good and should get carried out by public organisations like the CSIRO - eg better solar panels or sewage treatment or something like that. Personally I hate that my tax contributes to people researching topics like better weapons systems for killing people, which are then used to make profits for companies I dont agree with and kill people in wars I mostly dont agree with either.

BTW in order to study an Australian uni course in English candidates do need to attain a minimum level of English on standardised tests. perhaps its too low, or perhaps some people get through the testing process with too low a level, who knows? either way that student that couldnt understand the instructions was going to fail - so the system works.

Josh


--
Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!

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Kathain_Bowen


Kathain_Bowen

Good Ol' Yarn For Hair
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA

Total posts: 422
Posted:NJ public schools are government owned. My school just so happened to be a magnet school operated by our county's vocational school district. We were a rather.... er.... special school.

"So long and thanks for all the fish."

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Ade
SILVER Member since Mar 2001

Are we there yet?
Location: australia

Total posts: 1897
Posted:ditto

very eloquently put pyrolific, thanks

and faithinfire, I agree, it might not be important to you, but it might be important to someone else at someother time... ubbrollsmile


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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide

Total posts: 2474
Posted: Written by: Pyrolific

by definition a Phd is a contribution to the body of knowledge.


by that definition i could record my bowel movements for 3 years and recieve a phd as i have contributed new knowledge to science, imho a Phd is about making a significant (ie the vine think i mentioned before was not significant as it was so easy) contribution to the body of knowledge.

 Written by: Pyrolific

No chance of it being profitable - so by a lot of the reasoning here it shouldnt have been done.


i dont believe the responses have been a question of profitability but a question of difficulty and significance. Imho a Phd has nothing to do with profitability and all the post grad students i know recieve/or have recieved funding from the government in the form of a scholarship regardless of how obscure their research is.

 Written by: Pyrolific

BTW in order to study an Australian uni course in English candidates do need to attain a minimum level of English on standardised tests. perhaps its too low, or perhaps some people get through the testing process with too low a level, who knows? either way that student that couldnt understand the instructions was going to fail - so the system works.


sadly its really not in the universities interests to fail overseas students, its not good business to have unsatisfied customers, i wouldnt be suprised if he did pass frown after all lack of funding forces the university system to run as a place of business


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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Rozi
SILVER Member since Jan 2002

100 characters max...
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Total posts: 2996
Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men


 Written by: Pyrolific

by definition a Phd is a contribution to the body of knowledge.


by that definition i could record my bowel movements for 3 years and recieve a phd as i have contributed new knowledge to science, imho a Phd is about making a significant (ie the vine think i mentioned before was not significant as it was so easy) contribution to the body of knowledge.




As your phd supervisor for today, I would be perfectly willing for you to record your bowel movements for three years. However you would need to come up with a good question to answer by doing this. How about:


Is there any relationship between a fascination with poo and work/life quality? Or
How many shades of brown are there really?


You seem to forget that our Don Dunstan studier also had a phd supervisor. And had to put together a proposal for their research, refine it and have it accepted. They don't just accept any questions as "phd-worthy".


It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide

Total posts: 2474
Posted: Written by: Rozi


You seem to forget that our Don Dunstan studier also had a phd supervisor. And had to put together a proposal for their research, refine it and have it accepted. They don't just accept any questions as "phd-worthy".


actually thats exactly my point, the standard of what is phd worthy isnt high enough.

in my experience the majority of phd students havnt identified their research topic specifically until one year into their candiature, at a year and a half in they have to write a giant report about what their topic is and how they are going to do it along with what they have done if anything, the only two ppl to ever read this report are the student and their supervisor. if the report isnt up to scratch which very few are the supervisor says fix it up when u get time. a short summary of the report is given to a committee who um and arrr about a topic that generally falls outside of their area of expertise and take the supervisors word that its all up to scratch.

an example of another unworthy phd topic "Optimal Design and Control of a Separately Excited DC Motor" basically it was using year 12 maths to find the optimal design for one particular motor .... if he hadnt had to collect the data which wasnt in any way shape or form innovative then it was a first year design problem at best. however because he had got so far through his canditure and the department only gets money from the government when the postgrads complete their degree he got his phd.


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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