MISDIRECTED CRITICISM, Consult Magazine (23 September 2008)

Mr Bonning’s criticism of UCAT training should be better directed at ACER and universities which are big businesses. For example:

  • Student services unit of almost all universities engage in coaching of their students in preparing for aptitude tests (increasingly being used by recruitment agencies in their assessment centres), resume preparation and interviews in order to help them get jobs
  • Universities are big businesses these days and teach any course where there is demand. It has resulted in mickey mouse courses at universities in areas such as basket weaving and surf management, yet they claim coaching for generic and transferable skills involved with UCAT training unacceptable
  • UCAT coaching is education in a broad sense, same as what universities do, so how can that be deemed unworthy?
  • Undertaking UCAT coaching is an indirect indicator of motivation, just as obtaining a degree is an indicator of a person’s motivation to persist
  • While universities consider teaching and coaching students and then examining them in various subjects to be acceptable, they consider UCAT coaching to be unacceptable. Is it because examining body is different to the coaching organisation in the case of UCAT? If so, it should be even better because it makes the assessment system more objective.
  • Universities engage in ‘clever’ marketing undertaken in a systematic way that has led people to believe they need to do the degrees to get jobs. In fact over two thirds of people in the workplace work in areas unrelated to the discipline they graduated in. Universities highly exaggerate the employment prospects and starting salaries when pitching to potential students. It is not hard to find students with Bachelors, Masters & PhD doing unskilled work because they are unable to get the jobs promised to them before commencement;
  • Universities are part of the ‘visas for degrees’ rort where overseas students pay for (‘rubber stamped’) degrees and in return get the resident visa