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Are We All On A Mutually Destructive Journey Of Dumbing Down The University Experience?

As a university student, have you ever felt like you went into your field of choice with high expectations and the desire to actually learn something bigger? You feel excited that you will finally meet like minded individuals who are on exactly the same page as you, ready to learn valuable skills and experiences that will help you make a career for yourself?

If yes, then you are on the same page as me and you might also have faced serious disappointment. Well, me 4 years ago when i first embarked on my educational journey. Of course this article is not here to state that i learnt absolutely nothing in my 4 years. That would be an outrageous lie. But i’m here to look into the subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways in which the education system here and as per overwhelming data, worldwide, is going downhill in terms of the level of educational attainment. 

According to a 2019 study on the skills gap of Pakistani graduates in Higher Education Institutions found that a whopping 78% of employers are not satisfied with the current batch of undergraduates from across disciplines. This is really astounding since universities are said to be pumping out graduates at increasing rates.

Source; ProPakistani

The main area of concern is the fact that although many undergraduates come out with good CGPAs and relevant skills as per their relevant degree, however they lack in the most basic level skills such as how to write a simple business letter or how to effectively communicate with teams.

Graduates are also lacking in more global skills such as proficiency in other languages or even anything to do with quantitative reasoning or understanding. In order to better understand this phenomenon, we look to the age old assumption that says if you can’t effectively explain a concept to a child, then it isn’t really an effective way of communication and not something you understand yourself fully is it?

Well maybe that’s the issue then. We’re bringing primary school logic into a university setting where complex theories and concepts need to be understood as they are.

We’re all familiar with the oh so relevant and relatable meme culture surrounding the university experience that shows students either seriously depressed or seriously disappointed with their instructor’s lack of interest in the matter at hand. Delivering on their promise of a quality education.

Source; Junkee

It might be a world famous meme but let me assure you, this is no joke.

Being a former university student myself, I’ve seen first hand how teachers read a classroom and decide whether the class is “worth” the effort or not. While it is true that students tend to slack off and give absolutely no feedback to instructors, this is no excuse for the instructors to slack off as well. The difference being, that said party is being paid to do a job that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We’ve come to a complete standstill when it comes to courses actually challenging students and instead we find that blatant and unabashed plagiarism has become the order of the day.

The students that used to do everyone’s assignments, finals and even dissertations while they were at university have transitioned the same act into a very lucrative business after they’ve graduated. Perhaps the worst part is that everyone seems to be in on this not so secret secret.

Studies in Britain found that university teachers and professors also have increased pressure to give undeserving students better marks to maintain their average. So, why are more and more courses and instructors offering students relatively dumbed down and surface level introductions to complex concepts instead of the actual thing?

Some point towards a lack of resources while others look towards the stagnant educational standards. Whatever the real reason, there is no doubt that the education system of this nation is in need of a serious revamp. 

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