Universities and Gymnasiums


Something that one of the speakers said at the “do” last night has stuck with me. He said that, with students paying more and more for their degrees there was a danger that they might be seen as consumers of education, where they were obtaining their qualification by paying for it. He suggested another way of looking at the situation that I hadn’t heard before.

He said that going to university was like joining a gym.

You can join a gym to get fit, but just joining doesn’t make you fit. It simply gives you access to machinery and expertise that you can use to get fit. If you fail to listen to the trainer or make use of the equipment then you don’t get a better body, you just get poorer.

I really like this way of thinking. I think it puts all the responsibilities in all the right places. Our job as educators is to make sure students have all the stuff they need to make progress, but at the end of the day it is the student that gets their qualification.