A lesson in diversity

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The Independent Online

Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector of schools, hit out yesterday at the "vacuous" degrees offered by many universities. Among those he cited were golf-course management, pig-farming, knitwear, beauty therapy and cosmetic sciences - "to name just a few", as he put it.

Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector of schools, hit out yesterday at the "vacuous" degrees offered by many universities. Among those he cited were golf-course management, pig-farming, knitwear, beauty therapy and cosmetic sciences - "to name just a few", as he put it.

Well, we can help him out with a few more. As we report today, there are also undergraduate courses being offered in British universities in surfing, Asian cookery, bagpiping, gambling studies, perfumery, pop music in the Nineties and football culture (which includes a class on David Beckham, natch).

That's not all, of course. Even in our top universities, students are wasting their time on a subject called Classics, which, incredibly, involves mastering languages, such as Latin, that no one even speaks. Others are engaged in reading for courses in English Literature, which consist entirely of dealing with material that is made up - often by lonely, study-bound inadequates with little experience of the real world. As for theology, see Richard Dawkins passim.

Relevance and true scholarship are in the eye of the beholder. As for us, we're thinking about signing up for that summer course in surfing and snorkelling.

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