Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.



“Education is the sum of what students teach each other in between lectures and seminars.” – Stephen Fry (‘The Fry Chronicles’)

The question is, of course, whether students in the current tertiary system have any time between lectures in which they can form friendships, explore life, reflect on the world, and be curious about things within, on the fringe of, and outside their programmes. My observation is that the short semesters (12 weeks of lectures – typically in two 6 week blocks), increased emphasis on constant assessment through coursework rather than exams, having to work part-time to support studying, the predominant focus on degrees leading to jobs, and more mature students returning to study (with associated family and other commitments) leads to a significant loss of that ‘extra-curricular’ element of tertiary education. (Not to mention a decline in participation in things like clubs etc.)

In the past few months I’ve started to come across research that’s started to look at some of these things. A couple of local examples are:

Robert J. Manthei, Alison Gilmore, (2005) “The effect of paid employment on university students’ lives”, Education + Training, Vol. 47 Iss: 3, pp.202 – 215. (University of Canterbury study)


Edgar Burns, Yahanpath, Noel, Replication Study: Undergraduate Students Balancing Paid Semester Work and Study. (Available from Victoria University)

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