Small does not like Alex Rowley

Today I bought the Leicester Mercury, our local paper - mainly for the job section, but also just to catch up on the small-town journalists opinions on life the universe and everything.

The article which particularly drew my eye was on page 15 (if you’re reading along with me), the ‘first person’ column, this week written by Alex Rowley on how disheartened he is by his student experience.

The column includes passages like ‘I can see how lazy my fellow students are … when rugby lads come staggering in, booze laden and stinking, how little hope we have for the next generation’ and ‘if we are to scrape out of this economic slump, if we are to actually keep being intelligent as a race [which is horrible syntax, but now i'm getting petty], we can’t put our wallets into this gravy lump of education.’

1) drinking and ‘stinking’ doesn’t equate to laziness, it just means drinking - from my experience at leicester, the medics are generally the ones who go out of a night most, but they’re also the hardest working group of students!

2) intelligence isn’t all about academia, vocational subjects and courses that relate directly to careers are equally as important in retaining ‘intelligence’ as a race

3) who are you to decide my education is a gravy lump?? its at least foie gras, possibly caviar thankyou very much

Now, I have issues with his outlook - its almost understandable how people who aren’t university educated, or educated in an older generation can have a negative outlook on students, but for one of our own to be so dismal is just sad.  His picking out the ‘rugby lads’ is a little bit sensationalist, coz guess what, not all students are boozy, stinky layabouts - not even all ‘rugby lads’ are!  I’m well and truly bored of the pessimistic brush students are being tarred with, and for a student to be slopping it on thick is just ignorance.

He also seems to be complaining about having more people in higher education…thats a good thing isn’t it? - his argument appears to be that the rise in students at university is only accommodated by putting on outlandish courses like equine psychology or self-tanning.  The difference is ‘proper subjects’ (his words, not mine) have transferable skills and the ability to branch into numerous and interesting career prospects, and are therefore possibly worth more academically, but not necessarily in the real world so an A-Level in self-tanning is not in fact ‘equal to a course in maths’, but a patron of that course could probably go out and get a job with just a qualification in self-tanning than they could with an A-Level in maths.

It seems to me that Mr Rowley has an elitist viewpoint of further education: ‘anatomy, maths, law, geography, cosmology, or even English language … those are the ones we should be focussing on’ - hasn’t it occured to you that people go to university to study the subjects they enjoy? [for the record, Rowley studies drama, i'm just saying].

Perhaps when the universe is renamed the Rowliverse we will  be forced to study cosmology, because its most important…apparently.


What are our thoughts? should we tell people who want to study equine psychology, or drama for that matter to get a bit more intelligent and try geography instead?