Saturday, August 11, 2007

Concerning Degrees

My viva Pi├▒ata garden is growing beautifully, and is ample proof that if you invest a lot of time into something, eventually it will be the coolness of your eyes. (Please note that this does not always work for relationships or for baking chocolate ├ęclairs, as mj found out last Saturday)

I just got a new baboon as a resident, and like most new acquisitions, I tried feeding it to my crocodile, but I think Mj might have spoilt his favourite pet, as the bloody reptile refuses to eat anything but swans and beavers. (A beaver is a terrible thing to waste) the investment of time brings me to today’s post – the current state of South Africa’s tertiary institutions.

As Universities start to resemble assembly lines more than institutes of higher education, we need to step back and contemplate on whether this initiative is beneficial to the country. While I cannot comment adequately on the Engineering department (suffice to say they’ve got their own shit to worry about with all the plagiarized theses and what not. And lets not forget the Commerce faculty and the hiccup they’ve had with the MBA accreditation)

The problem with reform in post apartheid South Africa is that you have to constantly be politically correct- but as laudable as that is – it will not help us gain a foothold in global academia – if I was to suggest a compulsory English Competency test, someone might say that I’m racist – but just as you can’t drive legally without a license, I believe that you shouldn’t be studying at a ENGLISH medium university without being able to understand English – and no – this is not a swipe at Black students only – but anyone whose English isn’t up to scratch (anon haters on QL’s blog included) Secondly – the structures are in place to help one if they need it (writing place, academic writing modules etc) but many people do not exploit them at all.

Students who enroll for a media degree, need to be told from day one that it will not guarantee them a job in the industry unless they willing to work hard and get experience. I feel it’s really easy to scrape a pass, most University students could (media studies) but it’s substantially harder to excel in it. Start freelancing, get involved in some internship programme, get down on your knees, write for magazines, newspapers whatever, and just build a portfolio so you have something to show prospective employers. You’re not just competing with other grads in your department, but also people from other institutes, and technikons. Oh yeah – stop dissing people who have diplomas – its this shitty ‘Indian mother’ mentality which tells us that degrees are worth more than diplomas – most people I know who have graduated with a diploma in advertising work better in industry than their degree counterparts.
MJ and Marc (the advertising lecturer) are starting an initiative on campus soon that will get media student’s real briefs to work with, from real clients. I’m gonna attract the clients by offering them dirt cheap rates (the remuneration will be some food items or something) but at least this way we can get the students to build a portfolio so that they can compete with tech grads when looking for a job. If anyone is keen to help out or if you would like some advertising done for your company, keep me in mind. I want to get this thing off the ground within the next two months) To my friends in the industry - get us to do your research etc.

I had a dream that I was dipping Marie biscuits in my tea. I think this is what it meant


r said...

i really am looking forward to this course. Probably because it ties in really well with my other major. Don't disappoint! Experience dictates our opportunites in SA and i found that out the hard way. The media department needs a complete makeover. Only 3 courses offered at 3rd year level is ridiculous. And we're supposed to be the 2nd best department in the country.

Unknown said...

well my years of advertising, public relations, marketing and events management experience and look to be getting back into law. your point though is that independent thought is lacking in the competition for all round skills and the promise of better opportunities. have a conversation with some of these people and you behind to realise how inept most people are with a poor grasp of their own language of instruction, listed as mother tongue. working experience is not the solution, it should be initiative. which is severely lacking.
most could describe an abstract concept without it being popularised on mtv. or being a trend.
they dont create trends, they follow them.

qdee said...

hmm...the marie biscuit symolises something. repressed childhood im starving

J said...

nice to know marc, who's been in the real world for substantially longer than the students, has finally decided to actually give students a taste of what real advertising is about. Was he trying to protect us all these years with cushy ad campaigns that didn't teach us much about advertising anyway? oh, yes, and thanks for thinking of it now, when I'm gone, thanks...btw real clients might not always be up for your idea, good as it sounds...they make more money with professionals and it takes up lesser time...more talks with ad professionals would help; certain old men on motorcycles are not the only advertising practitioners in well as more guidance from the lecturer...i know markinor works with Vega now, so those lucky monkeys get access to detailed, in-depth research...cows. The media department needs to really try and live up to it's name and be more..more...woes, man!