In these days, mere university education has come into disfavor. It is no longer paying the dividend that it once used to pay. It gives no guarantee of a successful career. The university student is supposed to develop a snobbish attitude to all kinds of non-intellectual occupation He thinks it beneath his dignity to be a mechanic or a shop-keeper. Hence it is suggested that ordinary students should do well not to go up to the university after completing their school course, this opinion is freely expressed in many influential quarters.
To some extent this is true, but it is not the whole truth. The struggle for existence has struck at the root of all snobbishness. One cannot afford to stand on one’s dignity when one has to face the problem of keeping body and soul together. Hunger and want are mighty levelers and therefore we see young men, of what used to be called the bhadralog class, now taking to all kinds of manual employment. This makes the demand for university education somewhat less imperative than it used to be.
The real question is—does university education confer any real advantage on a person I Do it add to one’s efficiency or general capacity? If it does, then whatever career we might choose, such an education becomes desirable.
There are certain respects in which university education is advantageous. A university man develops a wider outlook on life He is more Liberal, more considerate in his attitude to men and events. This is a quality that. Stands one in good stead always. It gives one a poise, a sense of balance in one’s judgment. Wherever one’s destiny might be cast, it is always an advantage to be able to acquire this balanced judgment.
Another advantage of university education is its influence on general character. In most cases, it will be found that a university man is more restrained in speech and behavior. He has a tradition to uphold, a good name to maintain. In other words, university-education helps the development of character and personality. A university man is known by his finished manners, by a sense of the seemliness of things as well as by a certain quality of bearing and conversation. “Our studies pass out of sight into character”, said a Roman. And the assertion is or should be true of the man with a background in university education. He avoids unnecessary rudeness. He is, on the whole, more likable than a non-university man. Thus, in the long run, a university builds up national culture and gives a healthy direction to national character. “It is in universities that the soul of a people mirrors itself,” said Lord Haldane.
Social life including the art of government has become so complex today that it cannot be successfully handled by men of under-developed intellect and narrow vision. Extraordinary abilities are required of those who must operate the economic and political machinery of the country. Their outlook must be broad, their hearts expansive. Their intellect quick. Critical and tolerant. It is university education which can equip a man with all qualities.
Other things being equal, there is no doubt that university education gives one just the additional distinction that makes for success. Nowadays it is a good thing that a minimum university qualification is demanded from all entrants to specialized careers. Employers are discovering the fact that a university man is, as a rule, more efficient, since theoretical knowledge helps him in the practical discharge of his duties. “A mere mechanic is a poor thing”, said Dr. Johnson.
At the same time, while considering all these advantages, it must also be admitted that there is need to make university education more adapted to the needs of a career. The high and mighty attitude often taken up by some, that knowledge is for the sake of knowledge and a university has nothing to do with the utilities of scholarship, must be abandoned. All education should be a preparation [or life and courses of study and instruction in a university should be planned accordingly. To ignore this is to make university education less purposeful than it might be.
The trouble is that the standard of the tinker-titles in our country. Never very satisfactory, is, deteriorating. If university students are becoming more boisterous „and less considerate of others’ unions, it is because our universities “do not keep them fully or even moderately engaged. The method of teaching has become median’ 1. Students are never called upon to think out things for the Ives. A true university education is always an asset and an inspiration.