Chris McGovern: First-Ass degrees are a disqualification

As the political parties argue over student tuition fees it is worth reflecting on what some supposed ‘beneficiaries’ of university degree course are currently enjoying.

Take Harry, 24, at Leeds University, for example. He is a big fan of rapper, Kanye West, and was, recently, given the go ahead by his teachers to write his final year English degree thesis under this title: “I Love Kanye: Identity in the works of Kanye West”. Harry told The Tab, an online news site for universities in Britain and North America, that he’s a “big Kanye fan so wanted to dig into his back catalogue”.

It seems that Harry is especially fascinated by the way Kanye “challenges and subverts a settled notion of identity” through a “continuous re-appropriation of the production-consumption star image model, and by creating innumerable modulations of his own image”.

Impressive stuff and, as The Tab points out: “Dissertations are the dread of any third years. Writing 10,000 words on the role of women in the Victorian period, or on Byron, or Virginia Wolf etc. etc. is just so boring. No matter how much you love your course, researching something like that for nearly a solid year is soul destroying. But not if you’re clever enough to actually pick an interesting topic, I guess? We’ve had someone write their diss on the Kardashians, on Beyonce, but that is nothing compared to the guy who’s managed to write a solid 10,000 words on Kanye West. Yep, you heard me right.”

For the record, Kim, of Durham University, had to watch 80 hours of reality TV to produce her 10,000 words on the Kardashians – no easy task! According to The Sun it did, however, allow her to explore important issues “such as sexual liberation, consumerism, racial fetisisation – and Kim’s bum.” It won her a first class honours degrees or as the same newspaper commented - “First-Ass Honours”!

The floodgates of educational anarchy really opened when rapper Dizzee Rascall made it on to the new and more ‘rigorous’ A-Level English syllabus along with Russell Brand’s views on drugs, Caitlin Moran’s Twitter feed, Jamie Oliver and, even, Blackadder. It should come as no surprise at all, therefore, that Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé now qualify for dissertation status.

These days many students and their teachers regard the likes of Wordsworth, Byron and Dickens as irrelevant dead white males. They want literature to be relevant to the real and cool narcissistic world they live in. As Stro Rockets, another rapper whose literary output merits study, has noted:

"I think we all motherfuckin’ hypocrites, Asking God for life and we ain’t even livin’ it."

What next, a full degree course, perhaps, on ‘heavy metal’ music - Iron Maiden, Metallica, Black Sabbath and the like? No, it cannot be ‘next’ because it is already running at Nottingham Trent University. Do not expect it to produce too many future rock stars. Employability is not in the raison d’être of such courses and nor is unrepayable student debt.

‘Degrees as disqualifications’ is not something that appears in the party election manifestos for 2017. It should!

Chris McGovern

  • Colkitto03

    What value does any second class degree have anymore? The jobs market is flooded with them.You cannot really be deemed an expert in your chosen subject.
    For an employer all it shows is that you are reasonably competent and had the degree of self control to stick at something for three years (not unworthy attributes).
    Not great return on a £35,000 student loan debt is it?

    • Best qualified burger-flippers, ever.

      • Colkitto03

        Yes, I feel sorry for these kids. Most are bright, enthusiastic, helpful and keen. I feel they have been conned.
        That said the Universities in the Uk are already starting to struggle for numbers. Young people are waking up to this nonsense.

        • I do as well, they’ve been sold a load of horse manure that will haunt their lives. Many indeed are, and we have equipped them for nothing but failure.

          Glad yours are, hope they do soon here, as well.

      • Alan Llandrindod Wells

        Upvoted you but not totally sure you are right.
        Leaving at 16 with 3 O levels 50 years ago, is today a masters degree.
        3 % then went to Uni now I believe it is 24%.
        Don’t like either 3 or 24.

    • Dominic Stockford

      A degree is of little value, full stop. People who don’t have one are three years ahead of you in the jobs market, with the experience and the position to continue to leave you behind for years. And no debt.

      • Colkitto03

        Spot on. Could not agree more.

    • Phil R

      What value does any second class degree have anymore?

      Electrical Engineering quite a lot. (If combined with work experience)

      Most of the Arts. Zero (Work Experience… What is that?)

      • Waggler

        Imagine studying for your Masters degree in Electrical Engineering ten years after becoming a fully credentialed electrician with no student debt.

    • choccycobnobs

      “shows is that you are reasonably competent and had the degree of self control to stick at something for three years”. That used to be the case years ago. Nowadays, with some of the niff naff degrees, such as womens’ studies, all it shows is that the student spent 3 years drinking, protesting, whining and occasionally in a few lectures. Competency and self control doesn’t feature. Unis, by and large, are very much bums on seat marketing spinners and snake oil salespersons

  • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Mr. Bumble observed that if the law supposed that his wife were under his dominion and control, then “the law is a ass.”

    One also suspects that if the academy supposes that these dissertation topics are worthy of being written on, then “the academy is a ass.”

    • And far less attractive than Kim’s, well used to be. The academy’s has the same problem – it keeps growing.

      • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        And what emerges therefrom is pretty much the same…

  • How I would have liked to have done my dissertation on Guy Mitchell. A philosophical analysis of “Chicka Boom” I am sure would have changed the course of history. Or something.

    • Labour_is_bunk

      His song about the girl with red feathers would today be see as racist and would have the self-important student “activists” vomiting into their tofus.

  • UKCitizen

    Blairs reason for getting as many people through Uni as possible has little to do with formal education and more to do with re-education!
    The results are becoming all to obvious.

    • Marat

      It also keeps them out of the unemployment figures.

      • timbazo

        Not once they graduate.

  • Under-the-weather

    I can’t see any reason at all why tax payers should be backing student loans for anything other than classical music degrees.

  • Marat

    I would be glad to employ any one of these distinguished academics in my office.

    As long as they can grasp the concept of No Milk and One Sugar, that’s enough for me.

    • choccycobnobs

      They would need a training course for that.

      • Busy Mum

        Don’t forget the Food Hygiene Certificate.

        • choccycobnobs

          What??? Add another year to their tertiary education? I was going to suggest that they could instead be employed in waste-paper basket emptying, but that would involve a Man-Han course, PPE course and PUWER course.

          • Busy Mum

            Haven’t you heard? Education is forever. We are all lifelong learners now. So you don’t add years to education. Having an ‘education’ is the default position…..

  • Dominic Stockford

    As someone, Peter Hitchens I think, pointed out, education in this country can be seen in all its appalling glory on Pointless. Last nights episode was a perfect case i point, where two girls knew nothing useful about geography of physics associated with the letter ‘D’, but got a ‘best picture Oscar winner’ one correct. They even managed to decide that the ‘Dominican Republic of Congo’ was a country…….

    • Colkitto03

      I agree, but they weed out a lot of the brighter people at the audition stage. Most quiz programs do. Its entertainment not brilliance they are after.
      Madness i know

  • This is all thanks to Blair and Labour. Without his ridiculous target of 50% of young people attending university these morons would never have got in. The Labour party has destroyed higher education.

  • Waggler

    Think again about tertiary education.

    Match your talents with an apprenticeship and work to deliver good value thereby earning good money instead of acquiring debt and a doubtful career.

    After saving enough to buy a home (eventually to fund your elder care) continue saving to study for a Masters degree thereby further boosting your potential.

  • Ravenscar

    Over at my mother’s I watched TV, where a kid, on an afternoon game show, some purportedly med’ student. Lordy, his general knowledge was hopeless, I fell off the seat when he couldn’t answer some quite basic question concerning a latin translation ‘carpe diem’ or some such basic adage, now I know it wasn’t compulsory or aught but in my father’s day and didn’t they have to have a pretty good/functional understanding of Latin to enter onto a Med’ school course?

    Alack, these days, you walk into a surgery and if it’s anything more than a ‘runny nose’ they send you off to phlebotomy, gate keepers and only just about that. In the tertiary sector, I know there remains some rigour in the pure sciences but all else……………..even History – is just froth.