I'm sure many people were surprised to hear that few practical standards have been applied up to now in selecting entrants for these courses -- that "open entry" is considered the norm. I'm sure however that many people won't have been surprised to hear the bleating that has accompanied this announcement.
"We are shutting the door on the potential students and achievers of the future," said Auckland University Student Association education vice-president David Do, for example, demonstrating in a stroke why entrance criteria need to be raised to exclude those like Mr Do without even the brains they were born with: It is obviously beyond the wit of Mr Do to realise that those who fail to achieve the bare minimum necessary to enter a university are unlikely to be sort of material from which potential students and achievers of the future are made -- not at least in an academic environment -- or to notice that graduates with theology degrees are hardly likely to be setting the world on fire in any case (this is perhaps one course where entrance standards could be set so high as to exclude all entrants. But I digress.)
And John Minto illustrates PJ O'Rourke's point that earnestness is just stupidity sent to college, demonstrating in one short self-contradictory press statement that entrance standards excluding the stupid should have been applied more rigorously in Minto's day: the whole country and Minto himself would surely have been better off if the man had become a panel beater.
Libertarianz Education Spokesman Phil Howison summarises the position perfectly:
"The sad fact is that with lower standards and a general 'dumbing down' of academia, degrees are worth much less than they used to. Higher entrance standards will benefit all Auckland University students, by improving the reputation of the institution," Mr. Howison pointed out. "The role of the NCEA should also be mentioned. It is this assessment system which often leaves tertiary institutions and employers befuddled when attempting to assess a candidate's ability."I look forward to this more rational admissions policy taking hold in other groves of academe throughout the country.
UPDATE: Oops. Looks like the mandarins at Auckland University are already running scared at being tarred as, gulp, "elitists"! Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the Braindead Professor Dalziel this morning rejected the suggestion that the proposal could "risk a slide to elitism" -- an unfortunate metaphor, really, since it would be the only slide in Christendom with a trajectory pointing upwards. In any case, the Braindead Vice-Chancellor confirmed that "special entry schemes" for the braindead, the retarded and those with IQs approaching those of Mr Minto's and Mr Do's already run in courses with restricted entry and "it was envisaged similar arrangements would be used."
So there you go. Standards schmandards, says Uni. If you really want standards, then perhaps panel beating school would be better.