Beyond the practical

October 22, 2009

In illustrating courses that have "an obvious pay-off in employment terms" and thus merit support, Alan Ryan ("Practical implications", 8 October) instances a six-month paralegal training course. He then further marginalises vocationally relevant higher education by referring to instruction in practical skills.

Such instruction has an important part to play, but my experience of higher education in the built environment disciplines suggests that rigorous educational experiences, set in a vocational context, can provide students with the intellectual challenge that characterises true higher education, while at the same time - for those who choose to enter the vocational field concerned - playing a valuable role in improving professional and industrial practice. This goes well beyond practical skills.

Higher education can and should always contribute to immediate employability - but its true purposes are wider, longer and deeper.

John Bale, Councillor, Guiseley and Rawdon ward, Leeds City Council.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns