Sunday, August 19, 2012

University of Life, Essex or Jersey...?

Some people think that Jersey should have its own university.
These pix and the interview with Stephanie relate to one of the smaller UK institutions – namely the University of Essex at Colchester which hosts over 10,000 students from 120 plus nations.

Some of the educational activities take place at other centres (such as Southend) but it is quite clear that little ‘ole Jersey is already fully stretched with the Highlands College facility and that a full “Uni” is never going to happen here.

That is not to say that some more specialist courses could not be developed in Jersey and attract overseas students – but the full “Uni” experience is not just about narrow specialisation.

Essex has several particularly  well recognised departments – such as a Business School  and a Law Department which has a strong Human Rights interest – but these could hardly stand alone, especially in an insular place such as Jersey.

After all, the University experience is supposed to stimulate the brain not send it into a coma. If the purpose is to produce Trappist monks then different standards might apply but universities hopefully still strive towards educational awareness rather than cloning anonymous worker bees.

Perhaps if anybody has knowledge of Essex or plans to go there, now that the exam results are confirmed, they could comment here?

It would also be interesting to hear about Jersey students or potential students (young or mature) and how they are financing educational opportunities etc whether at “Uni” or elsewhere.

One of the most striking aspects of the Essex experience following this short visit was the inter-action with the local population.
Universities do tend to stimulate activities – from politics to sport and entertainment – that spill over outside the campus. The same is not very true for Highlands which seems to be still following some of its old Jesuit “closed community” behaviour.

Could/should Highlands be more involved with the community at large through initiating more research and stimulating public discussions on many issues (not just politics)?
Should Highlands’ policy be more welcoming to outside views and influences?
Does the Students Union still exist at Highlands and what is its status..?

Answers please on a beer mat

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