Academia

The unpalatable truth: most too dumb for uni

According to the Times Higher Education:

Over half of current final-year students would not have gone to university if they had faced tuition fees of £9,000 a year, according to a new study.

However this is a good thing.

The fact of the matter is that the majority of people are not smart enough for university and the country should not be wasting its resources sending them there or raising their expectations. The Labour Party’s stated aim when in power of having 50% of school-leavers going on to tertiary education was based on la-la-land ideology, not reality.

It’s really quite a simple matter of facts and figures. To cope with academia, a person needs an IQ of 115+. By definition, 50% or people have an IQ of below 100 and only about 15% of the population has an IQ of 115 or more. Some of the people in this group will not want or need a university education, so the pool is even smaller than that. Of course there are some people who are marginally less bright who with the right motivation and determination will do reasonably well at university, but even so, we’re still miles away from the magic 50%.

In pursuit of this goal, it was necessary to – to put it bluntly – ‘dumb down’ academia and to introduce courses which, frankly, should never have been in universities in the first place. All this has meant is a glut of ‘graduates’ with no marketable skills and very high expectations.

It is a terrible cruelty.

What’s more, the almost ubiquitous ‘degree’ has devalued real and worthwhile degrees. It also devalues technical qualifications and skilled trades, the practitioners of which are made to feel less valuable because they don’t have a degree. No sober-minded person would deny that one good plumber is worth a busload of ‘media studies’ graduates.

It is odd that our society keenly measures and celebrates physical prowess: footballers, athletes, boxers, racing drivers, runners, mountaineers, you name it, they’re all worshipped and rewarded. There is no shame in acknowledging that some are faster, fitter or stronger than others. However, there seems to be a reluctance – a taboo even – to accept that some people are simply smarter than others. We don’t set a goal that 50% of the population should become premier-league footballers or Olympians, so why harbour this insane idea that so many should go to university and pursue an academic path? Why can we accept that a small pool of people have exceptional physical agility, but not that mental agility is similarly limited to a select few?

The trick of a progressive society is not to enable more people to go to university but to enable more people of ability to go to university. Somewhere quantity was mistaken for quality.

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