Wednesday, May 04, 2011


Letter To The Editor, The Financial Post, May 4, 2011.

Some years ago, I discussed with a colleague the question of how many undergraduates belong and deserve to be in our classrooms. My colleague suggested that perhaps 25% of students are properly qualified and sufficiently motivated. I found my colleague's estimate overly optimistic, as I believed most university students possess no intellectual curiosity, but just feel entitled to higher education and do not know what else to do.
We decided to test at least one aspect of our contention: the lack of intellectual curiosity. It was decided I would announce in my second-year child psychology class that the next lecture would be mostly a debate and not cover anything that would be tested in any examination. Students were advised to come only if they were interested in a better understanding of some particular issues.
The class was attended by 18 out of 120 students (15%). According to most participants, and myself, it was one of the best classes of the year.
It is regrettable that no political party in the recent election took up the problem of our crowded universities, which cater to unqualified, unmotivated, semi-literate and parasitical students.
Characteristically, our universities "advertise" like soap sellers. The University of Western Ontario brags about the "Western experience" (number 4 on Playboy's party list!). Other universities lure students with pretentious and dishonest slogans claiming to offer "excellence" in education.
I see no solution other than to insist, at the very least, on admission exams.
            Heinz Klatt, professor emeritus of psychology, London, Ont.

1 comment:

debelg said...

Agree. It's an old problem. My own "college education" was really just "trade school." Intellectual curiosity? Rare. I wonder if universities should increase the number of requirements - this might serve as a weeding out process and benefit those who indeed are intellectually curious.

Literature, language, history, relevant economics,might be included. There appear to be few well-rounded graduates being developed today. A pity; they are needed!