University Cheats LO29786

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 01/08/03

Replying to LO29781 --

Dear Organlearners,

Alan Cotterell <> writes:

>I note the current media beat-up about cheats at Monash
>Uni, refers to involvment of engineering students. I wonder,
>does the concept of cheating run to inclusion of lecturers
>who teach the content of exams for weeks prior to the event.

Greetings dear Alan,

Thank you very much for a timely contribution.

There is an extensive coverage on the idea of a university and how
Australion Universities fail it in
< >

Cheating at an institution cannot be determined without knowing its
mission of education. For example, if its mission is for students to
reproduce the present status of information on a subject, then the
memorisation and regurgitation of such information is in order.

It is the rectorate of a university which is primarily responsible for
delineating the university's mission and ensuring that this mission is
followed in the education of all its subjects. But when they do not know
the difference between knowledge which dwells within a person and
information which exists without that person, how can we expect from them
to maintain a sound mission?

>The fact is, the whole economic system runs on bullshit!
>Lecturers have to maintain their pass rate, so unmotivated,
>untalented students are shuttled through the system, and
>become 'leaders of industry'. It seems five minutes after
>qualifying, many of these idiots are into managerial positions.

Alfred North Whitehead once said that the task (mission) of a university
is to create the future. Should creativity then play a minor role in its
education, if any at all, then it is certainly cheating and selling
detritus for degrees.

>The question I would ask is this : How many uni graduates
>actually start up engineering businesses? I think you'll find
>virtually all engineering businesses in Australia are initiated by
>British or American parent companies, some of the smaller
>businesses are set up by tradesmen. Almost none are begun
>by uni qualified engineers.

Setting up any business requires a lot of creativity. With a lack of
creativity in their university training, how can we expect university
students to set up their own business?

>So where does that leave Australia? It leaves us with
>an economic system in which there is no creativity or
>competitiveness. It leaves us dependent on the US and
>Britain for ever, for leadership and our national defence.

Apart from uncreative university training, there is a second issue which
we should keep in mind. It is a mental model of managers that buying an
existing innovation is more cost effective than creating its self. This is
only true in the short run of that innovation self and when a country's
exchange rate allows its buying from another country. But in the long run
it is much cheaper as well as rewarding to create those innovations self.

>[Host's Note: Hmm... The mood on this side of the pond
>gets pretty dark sometimes too. And, then peaks in absurdly
>euphoric bubbles. I've often felt that things are never as bad
>as they seem in the dark periods.
> ... Rick]

Rick, I have been studying the history of universities on and off for some
twenty five years. What strikes me is that as soon as a university becomes
dictated by anything else than the sublime quest for authentic knowledge,
it deteriorates into shambles. The problem of modern universities in most
countries is that they are dictated by governments who fund them as a
national asset. It requires profound integrity from academics not to cheat
under this dictatorship of politicians.

With care and best wishes,


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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