Well, he deserved it, after his results. The big graduation ceremony was yesterday, at Queen's Belfast (which is about 54 degrees North, in case you were wondering). It was a great day.
It's interesting looking at the University's approach to the whole graduation thing, which if you were the cynical type, could be regarded as just another way to raise a few ££s. Queen's is not alone here - they are all at it. It's not enough that the tuition fees are substantial (although I have to admit that as it stands in Ulster the fees are slightly less than half that of Universities in England, where they are £9,000 per year. In Scotland, by the way, tuition is £1820 per year for Scottish Students or non-UK EU citizens. Got that? Non-UK EU students. A student from the RestOfUk (RUK) - England, Wales or Northern Ireland - will be charged the full £9000 per year but a French student studying at a Scottish University will be charged £1820. Methinks it's best not to comment further about that particular anomaly, given the current situation we find ourselves in, eh?).
No, the thing is, once you actually reach the finishing post after your 3, 4 or 5 hard years of
The University graduating experience can be summed up in three words: It's a business.
Now I know that no-one is forced to go to University - it's a choice. But in the last 10 years it has become an expensive choice. That's all I'm saying.
I'll leave the last words to The Young Fellow himself, who when he learned that his soon-to-be employer, BT, offer apprenticeships to school leavers. He said if he'd known that 5 years ago he wouldn't have bothered going to Uni. The thing is, it's no longer in a school's interest to actually tell their pupils about apprenticeships, since they have one eye on the League Tables. The more of their students that go to Uni, the better the school looks - as far as the League Tables say, right? It's all a game and they're all playing it. So, schools want as many of their students as possible to go to Uni, whether it's the right thing for them or not. It's nuts, the whole thing.
I saw it, at Ulster University where I spent the last 15 years of my career. There was a significant percentage of students who had no interest in or aptitude for their subject. They were only there as there was peer pressure to go, mummy and daddy wanted their child to 'go to University' and for a few of them, it was to get them out of the house and doing something - anything. You would think that many of them would fall by the wayside once the academic work ramped up, but you would be wrong. You see, for every student that arrives on day one, the University gets money, income, from the UK government. And for every student that leaves, it loses income. You can see where I'm going with this, right? Once accepted onto a course, the University will do everything in its power to keep them. Remember, folks - it's a business.
In spite of my working life spent in academia - or maybe because of it - I have a great regard for the likes of Alan Sugar, who famously left school at 16. Also Jack Taylor. Who? Jack Taylor - the guy who created Enterprise Rent-A-Car, with annual revenue of $19.4 billion in 2015. The company that employs more graduates every year than any other company. Now that is some achievement - and most of them start by washing and vacuuming cars. Mr Taylor passed away a few days ago, at the ripe old age of 94. As the NY Times article states, he was a poor student by his account, and joked that World War II, which ended his college career after 2 semesters at Washington University, 'saved me from any further educational opportunities'. Nicely put Mr Taylor, nicely put.