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Pride – part two

July 13th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life · 1 Comment · Life

Having complained about the concept, I have to admit to the sin of pride today, and it was certainly not for any achievement of mine. Rather it was vicarious pride in our daughter’s achievement as she picked up her master’s degree today. I may try to be cool about it, but I know I am not because I find myself just happening to mention it all the time and grabbing every opportunity to shoe-horn it into any conversation. It really is a prime example of pride being a way to share the spotlight of somebody else’s glory, because I did not have any part in it. Clutching at straws, we did support her when she was doing her BSc, without which she couldn’t have done a higher degree, but really this degree was paid for by her employers and she did it while working and living in her own place 70 miles away, so I can’t claim any credit. In fact I was so uninvolved that I really thought she was doing her degree in computer science with an emphasis on project management, but it turns out the degree was actually in project management.

If anybody else deserves credit, it would be the staff at Thomas Bennett Community College who gave Chrystal all that encouragement to believe she was capable of being the first person in her family to get to university.

Anyway, it was a strange day. Not being academic myself, my only experience of higher education is going to the last graduation ceremony, and reading stuff like Tom Sharpe’s Wilt and Porterhouse Blues books, Lucky Jim and various books by David Lodge, Howard Jacobson and Malcolm Bradbury. In that respect, seeing all the faculty parading in with odd robes and hats was more a source of amusement than awe and respect, and for some reason I found it particularly amusing that somebody should have the title of Deputy Vice-Chancellor but attract so much deference. I wondered if there was an Assistant Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Its the same with those political and Civil Service job titles that have so many caveats in them yet we are supposed to be impressed by them: like Permanent Secretary to the Assistand Under-Secretary or whatever.

I also found myself wondering, as all the categories of degrees were announced, who decides whether a subject that is neither an art nor a science should be classed as a BA or a BSc? For example, there were degrees in human resource management. That is absolutely not a science, but on the other hand it isn’t really artistic either, although it might count as a dark art. I can’t imagine anybody going to Tate Britain to see an exhibition of HR policies. Perhaps you could call it a social science at a pinch, but it doesn’t strike me as being as scientific as economics or psychology. Maybe I am wrong and they do carry out experiments with control groups and follow the scientific method, but I can’t help thinking there should be a term for the more vocational degrees to save people tossing a coin to decide whether event management is an art or a science.

It is more likely that , since the only qualification I have got since my O Levels is a driving licence, I am not really competent to comment on such matters.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Jane

    Despite having a first degree and spending many years working in a University bookshop I always think that Pratchett’s Unseen University is my ideal of an insitution of higher learning….

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