Novelist and lecturer Tibor Fischer has penned a controversial article in The Telegraph where he describes modern students as ‘moaning illiterate snowflakes’.
Tibor expressed frustrations about too many teens being encouraged to go to uni, even if they’re unable to handle the workload. He feels the safety net of resits and resubmissions means ‘if you can be bothered to turn up, you’ll get a degree’.
Tibor gives examples of some undergrads he has taught who couldn’t answer the question ‘what is a sentence?’ and who struggled to understand the definition of an adjective.
He thinks pressure in the academic world has stopped fellow lecturers from speaking out, even though, he argues, many of them secretly agree.
#TiborFischer on academic standards – "Why doesn't the Government just give everyone a PhD and get it over with"
— Robert Bathurst (@RobertBathurst) August 9, 2017
Bravo Tibor Fischer in today's Telegraph re universities. Spot on. Will post link later.
— Susan Elkin (@SusanElkinJourn) August 9, 2017
Tibor, who taught English Literature at Christ Church University for four years, is apparently exasperated by what he perceives to be the ‘sick note’ epidemic:
Almost every fourth essay you have to mark has a cover sheet pleading extenuating circumstances: Asperger’s, autism, anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD, dyslexia, dyspraxia.
In my day, extenuating circumstances meant that your family had died in a car crash a month before your finals.
Tibor also takes issue with the Equality Act, where universities are required to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate students’ needs:
It’s the job of a university to strive for excellence (although that’s tricky to define in the arts).
This idea that a university is in some way in loco parentis or a carer obliged to wipe bottoms is misguided.
Of course, university courses should be challenging, pushing students to be at their best, and lecturers should not feel as if they cannot criticise the current system without repercussions.
Hear hear to Tibor Fischer's article in today's Telegraph
— Susan Eccles (@Booligar) August 9, 2017
However, it could also be seen as a positive thing when the personal problems of students are taken seriously and they are supported to work through life’s challenges.
For those suffering from mental health problems, reasonable adjustments can help them achieve the grade they are fully capable of, during what would otherwise be an impossibly difficult time.
What do you think?
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.