Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Cleaning? It's great! Haven't tried it myself but...

Someone please remove this man from the education portfolio.

I have had to spend some time after I read this article calming down, with the aid of a glass of red, in order to to get this out intelligibly, such is my rage.

If you don't want to read the article here's the gist of it: Brendan Nelson believes that young Australians are obsessed with "a university education, and a mobile phone and a BMW and fashionable clothes" at the cost of ignoring noble, if low-paid, vocations such as, um, cleaning. He blames this obsession on Paul Keating. Apparently Keating is to blame for planting the idea of university for everyone in the brains of the general public.

I have a number of problems with this:

To group a university education with flash cars and flash clothes is rather strange. The former does not lead to the latter. Ask any Arts graduate. Or someone who has a PhD in physics and works as a lowly paid Librarian at a University. Or a PhD in history who answers phones. Or a PhD in philosophy who can earn better money as a nurse. A degree, or seven, doesn't always lead to big money, unless you do the degree in something worthwhile - like the colour-by-numbers Masters courses being run in Universities across the nation as we speak, in disciplines I would label 'vocational' rather than 'higher learning'. Higher education isn't, or shouldn't be, about how much money you earn when you get out, it's about learning stuff. Or maybe I'm just old-fashioned. Nelson seems to be telling people that a tertiary education is a lifestyle choice that you make to create the aura of money, to show off. Well, it will be soon if Nelson keeps hiking up the fees.

If Australians are obsessed with top-notch HSC marks this is only being reinforced by the Government's lush funding of private schools. Why do people send their kids to exclusive schools? Because of the natty uniforms? Because they get to sleep on verandahs? No, because the parents honestly believe that these schools can turn dumb, but rich, Johnny into a genius, thus he may achieve an excellent HSC mark so he can get into the best University...

Brendan Nelson has 3 kids. I bet they don't go to the local public school and I bet they would be given a good 'wake-up-to-yourself' speech if they chose a career as a plumber.

Ultimately Nelson is trying to put people who can't afford to go to uni in their place. Can't afford to go to uni? There's nothing wrong with cleaning you know! Hell, we even have cleaners here at Parliament House! They do a wonderful job and I don't know what we'd do without them. God forbid I would have to clean my own coffee cup! Well done chums.


At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Tim said...

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Many thanks


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