Australian universities are setting students up to fail at life

Australian universities are setting students up to fail at life, by Grace Collier.

Over a soiled bedpan, several years ago, in a private hospital that I helped run, there were bitter tears and a staff resignation, tendered in a fit of pique. A nursing graduate, with high marks and glorious ambition, hadn’t ­imagined she would ever be asked to work nights and weekends, and perform nauseating menial tasks.

When study ended and work started, the reality had hit hard. Nobody like me goes to univer­sity, she said between sobs, to end up working unsociable hours and having to do such disgusting things. Back to full-time study she went, for a postgraduate degree in business studies. A bedpan-free future beckoned.

This young lady probably ended up like so many young people today; in her mid or late 20s with multiple degrees, a huge student debt, no work experience, average employment and earning prospects, unrealistic ideas about her value to an employer, and all while staring down the barrel of an expensive housing market. …

So many of our young ­appear over-privileged, unwilling to take on responsibility, emo­tionally fragile, narcissistic and utterly lacking in resilience.

Their adulthood seems endlessly delayed and they seem to need their parents so much. Failure to launch syndrome (where young adults can’t leave home and support themselves) is now a recognised disorder, for which there is organised treatment. …

Sixty-five per cent of Generation Y already have completed a tertiary qualification. Is this too many? The market is saturated, surely. …

Not enough people are pursuing trade apprenticeships and too many people are at university. Universities have become businesses and are selling people useless degrees. And when young people find out they’ve been sold an expensive and questionable qualification, they become ­resentful.