student accommodation, studying facilities ….

or what is studying about?

Dear Students – here in Ireland and probably elsewhere.
Recently a mail had been sent to the staff at UCC – it originated from a Senior Lecturer in Science Education at the Department of Education, Uiversity College Cork and stated the following

I am writing to ask you to encourage your students to make use of the weekend study facilities now available in the Campus Kitchen. From now until next May the Campus Kitchen will be open on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holiday Mondays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. Feedback from recent talks on “Steps to ensure success in your study of science and engineering in UCC” that I gave to all first year science and first year engineering student students indicates that a significant number of students living in student apartment complexes find it difficult to study in this apartment environment.

Many thanks to Mr … and his security staff as well as … for making this facility available. The Students’ Union will be informing students of the study facilities available but a few words of encouragement from yourselves may help students to settle down to study and to start using the weekend study facilities to help them to keep up with their work. Recent statistics from the HEA (Mooney et al., 2010) on drop-out rates from universities in Ireland are cause for serious concern.

Now, I will be the least to complain about providing additional study facilities to students – when I had been studying, I had been in the privileged position that I could use the library 24 hours a day – there had been one exception throughout the year. though I do not remember exactly, I think it had been the 25th of December that the facilities had not been available.

Leaving various things aside that could be said in this context, I want to raise at least three points:
* is the provision of study-facilities really an appropriate answer on the lack of quality-accomodation for students? – This laves aside the fact that this accommodation is in many cases completely overpriced, pushes students out on the private market, thus contributing via a more or less long chain to problems on the housing markets. If landLORDS (are we still living in feudal times, or is it even meant as prayer?) are making easy money, this, of course, maintains high rents …
* is teaching, organisation of seminars and discussion opportunities so limited during the week that there is urgent need for facilitating additional studies during the week – especially: additional space for individual studies?
* finally, is the lack of space for studying a real and major problem for “high drop-out rates for universities”?
Perhaps such Higher Education Authorities should step down from their pedestals – having a look at the reality of all these supposed  *****-universities, excellence universities may cure them. Though it is boring and we all know it it may be stated again: education is perverted to a commodity. It is “goal-oriented” and the sole goal is availing of a paper that states a degree. I do not want to write a plea for the humanist tradition in its traditional form: it had been highly idealist and elitist in its very foundation. Nevertheless, it surely had been more of an empowering spirit than much today’s skill-orientation. And surely had been more emancipatory, independent it is orientation than social scientists who state in a complaining, and even depressed mood:

This is the consequence of liberalism

Turning around after a deep sigh …., continuously walking the old ding-dong-trotten path, welcoming any success, any start gained or maintained, as a success – it is a little bit like Christmas:

Mai le campane risuonano più dolcemente

Isn’t it time to wake up? – Can be sweet too!

At least this colleague seems to have slept while he had been studying … and needs to improve skills, then justifying a position as Senior Lecturer in Science Education at the Department of Education

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