Bob Jones on the uselessness of tertiary courses, the Dompost and the Dompost journalists

Bob Jones is a national treasure, and in this week’s NBR he has out done himself on the insults.

It is rather special as he discusses the general uselessness of the Dompost, its journalists and education in general.

“Teachers struggle for jobs” was the welcome front page heading in the Dominion-Post a week back.

Before readers jump up and down, I’ll explain the ‘welcome’ bit. There has been a change of editor, meaning people with weak hearts can now resume reading the front page. Under the previous office-holder whose reign corresponded with a massive circulation decline, the mind-boggling fictions, disgraceful created non-stories and sheer nonsense bespoiling the Dom’s front page, plumbed depths never hitherto reached in the annals of newspaper publishing.

Nonsense articles still continue to entertain, only not on the front page. For example, not once but twice in the last few week’s, the Dominion-Post has described Kiwi Property as New Zealand’s largest listed company.

But back to the school-teacher story, published incidentally, under the obviously mickey-taking fictitious name, Laura Dooney. Ever heard of a ‘Dooney,’ aside from which, given the piece was well-written, anyone competent having such a name would long since have changed it by deed-poll.  Be that as it may, the item claimed we’re pumping out school-teachers who are unable to obtain jobs. It cited the Ministry of Education advising that only 15%, for God’s sake, of new teaching graduates, are able to secure permanent teaching employment. This over-supply outrage was attributed by the NZEI president Louise Green, inter alia, to “teacher training providers, eager to sustain numbers and thus corresponding funding.”

Whoever wrote the story (like you, I can’t believe the Dom’s ‘Dooney’ try-on) missed an even bigger one, namely that specialist courses graduate over-supply goes far beyond teaching.

He insults the Dompost, the former editor and the education reporter, along with business journalists…all in five paragraphs. I must try harder. Unfortunately for Bob, Laura Dooney is in fact a real person and it is her real name.

Here are two more examples but it certainly doesn’t stop there. Both mainly affect young women. Otago University takes on large numbers of students for physical training degrees, their related jobs otherwise known as gym teachers. Yet the university must know that only a few of them (I’ve been told 5%) will actually obtain such employment, for the very good reason that they don’t exist in such numbers. So, too, all of our universities have law faculties pumping out graduates in numbers hugely in excess of demand. There is no way they cannot be aware of this.

And Labour will provide even more funds to churn out even more useless graduates who think they are entitled to a job.

Next to listening to speeches one of my most intense dislikes is delivering them but there’s an exception – requests from secondary schools to talk to senior pupils. I always accept as I feel for young people having to decide career choices when their life experience is totally inadequate to make such important decisions. But decide they must, which is why I believe universities are breaching an ethical duty to issue cautionary warnings to students regarding overcrowded conventional disciplines. I exclude students taking more esoteric subjects, such as attending art school and the like. Unless they’re total half-wits, they’ll be aware of their sink-or-swim fate once out in the world, as it’s self-evident. Nevertheless, I take my hat off to such students for having a go and pursuing their dreams.

I wish Bob had delivered a speech to my school. It would have been hilarious, especially considering my last years at secondary school were the last years of Sir Robert Muldoon.

I’ve raised this issue with a vice-chancellor mate who agrees, particularly with law, that there’s a case for cautionary job prospect warnings with conventional but over-crowded fields.

I’m a believer in competition but let’s not forget, we’re dealing with young people, only a year or two removed from child status. They deserve protection, as Louise Green points out, from “providers eager to sustain numbers and thus corresponding funding.”

And that funding will substantially increase if, God forbid, Labour were ever elected again.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.