The chronic underfunding of Australian universities is something of a tragedy. But Macquarie Universitys revenue-raising response, reported in the Herald this morning, is nothing short of hilarious. The university whose somewhat cruisy student lifestyle has led it to be dubbed Club Mac has now decided to take it to the next level by giving courses aboard a cruise ship.
700 students will pay $25,000 for a 16-week voyage aboard a luxurious Royal Caribbean Cruises liner, which has been ridiculously redubbed The Scholar Ship. Or in other words, The Really Mum And Dad, Its Not Just A Huge Bludge Ship.
I think its an excellent idea. While most peoples experience of university was a little rowdy and drunken, and involved a modicum of sexual experimentation, this is the first time a university course has actually been combined with a Contiki tour.
Professor Tony Adams, who is Macquaries International Pro-Vice Chancellor a.k.a. Director of Profiteering From International Students says that the course will teach students skills they need to work in a global market. And so it will. This floating drunken orgy will be the perfect preparation for this post-globalisation era, where deals can live or die on whether, for instance, you can hold your sake at a Japanese karaoke bar. And it will be a fantastic opportunity for students from different backgrounds to form an international learning community, as Adams puts it. Although the different ideas they’ll exchange will probably mainly be about the best way of rolling a joint.
The parents who’ll be funding this junket are reassured that the alcohol intake will be controlled, and that an elected student council will set its own rules. Yes, and student councils have such a glowing record on the responsible consumption of alcohol. That said, they probably won’t drink much. But only because, as anyone whos ever suffered through a harbour cruise knows, you spew much faster on a rocking boat.
Im also pleased to see that the remarkable influence of L. Ron Hubbard on education http://www.appliedscholastics.org/lrh_ed.php is continuing. According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_org, the founder of Scientology used to give his highest-level courses on board a ship in order to avoid prosecution. The members of the Sea Org, as they were known, had to sign an employment contract that was binding for a billion years. (An idea likely to be adopted in the first round of amendments to the WorkChoices legislation.) Perhaps The Scholar Ship has also realised that by sailing in international waters, it too can avoid fraud prosecutions from parents whove had to fork out 25 grand for a four month long binge?
So what will students actually get out of this? While universities in such prestigious centres of higher learning as Mexico, Ghana and Morocco signed up to funnel their richer students into this ridiculous profiteering venture, only one uni has signed up to debase the value of the degrees it awards by allowing the courses aboard this floating circus to count towards them. Thats right, our very own Macquarie University.
Still, its got to beat studying at North Ryde.