Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Too much pressure to complete PhDs quickly?

Last week's Times Higher featured an article "Doctor, doctor, quick, quick" highlighted on the front page, in addition to an editorial "British doctorates in the dock". These articles question the UK's approach of trying to get PhDs by age 24 or 25 (3 years undergraduate study, then 3 years of PhD).

I guess every country's higher education system generates pet peeves amongst its users -- I've come across various complaints about the Italian one recently -- but I reckon that at least within most of Computer Science, the above is a genuine problem, mainly because the result is that our PhDs struggle to compete in a tough international job market. No need for me to rant about it though - I can just direct the reader to "British doctorates in the dock".

From the articles linked-to above, I learned about Vitae, which aims to promote an emphasis on rather generic skills training, at the expense of technical subject-based skills. The web site has lots of on-line advice to PhD students and postdocs about career development, but does not emphasise nearly enough the importance of publication. Their News page is, I think, quite a useful resource.

Finally, unrelated, another rant-by-proxy, I recommend Sleepwalking into a Police State, at Willem Buiter's blog. This blog is mainly heavy-duty economic commentary, but this post has Buiter wearing his academic cap, and commenting on pressure on universities to monitor the attendance of overseas students at seminars, and report them to the Borders Agency if they are not attending.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is rather interesting for me to read the article. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.