Thursday 8 December 2016

Diary of a Schoolteacher: The system is failing college graduates in bedsits living off cat-food burgers

E Grade

Published 23/02/2012 | 06:00

According to one of my favourite songs: "The first commandment reads that human flesh and blood is sacred -- until there's no more food."

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Yes, this could well hang over the desk of any of our ministers for education, beautifully embroidered in a gilt frame, with full credit given to the philosopher-punk Jean-Jacques Burnel entered in curly script underneath.

Not that I reckon that Mr Quinn is a big Stranglers fan, he's more part of the hippy generation that preached love and peace and then, after having shown leadership in the big anti-this and anti-that demos, was recruited for its leadership qualities and thus swapped global peace for the global markets.

For all that he has to do -- what the Troika tell him -- as a socialist, Ruairi is well aware of the role played by education in upholding the status quo and if he's read his Marx (and particularly Walter Benjamin, I might add) he'll be familiar with the theory of how the bourgeoisie (in Ireland, bankers, estate agents and Irish Times readers) maintains its power over the proletariat (people who don't drive SUVs) by holding on to the means of production.

We're not going to produce much that anyone will want to buy if we don't have the education and technology to do it, although our Government has acknowledged as much and has done well to attract a slew of new jobs in this month alone.

Well done, lads, you've told them we're all educated even though you're slashing away like Freddie Kruger, but now it's up to the rest of us to hang on to these jobs and this is where we need to educate people for the right stuff.

I'd agree with the guy from Mastercard I heard on the radio the other day who said that even a graduate in Greek and Roman Civilisation is a good bet because they know how to access and apply highly specialised information.

I was relieved he didn't come up with the old "graduates with MBAs" crud. As far as I can tell, we've been churning out postgrads with Masters in Business Administration for the last 20 years and given them top jobs and pay rises and look where all that 'expertise' has got us -- right back where we started.

There'll be college graduates living off part-time work or social benefit making cat-food burgers in their bedsits tonight, just like when I left college. Soon they'll ask their parents to stump up a couple of thousand for a postgrad MBA (if they have it) because the colleges market the course by telling them it'll make them more employable and statistically the over-55s in Ireland have been the least affected by the recession, so the colleges will know they're on to a good thing here.

Of course, it's not just the snake-oil solutions promised by that particular course but a whole raft of others too.

And my commandment reads: Educate people for jobs this time round, not for the education industry.

Irish Independent

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