Essay 130 – What should be the main function of a university?

GT Writing Task 2 / Essay Sample # 130

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people think that universities should provide graduates with the knowledge and skills needed in the workplace. Others think that the true function of a university should be to give access to knowledge for its own sake, regardless of whether the course is useful to an employer.

What, in your opinion, should be the main function of a university?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.


Model Answer:

In our rapidly changing world, the objective of universities has sparked a heated debate. Many people believe that universities should equip students with the knowledge and skills set required for the jobs, yet others argue that the role of the universities is to prepare pupils without a particular vocation in mind. However, I believe that universities ought to serve both purposes.

For a start, many educators opine that universities should offer students with knowledge and skills for the workplace as they believe the prime objective of tertiary education is to focus on preparing pupils for the workforce. To illustrate, the shift from an industrial-based economy to the technological and information-based economy is transforming the work regime where executives need to apply a vast array of knowledge to access information and to manipulate data as well. Therefore, every tertiary educated young should be equipped with knowledge of information and communication technology. Otherwise, they will struggle to do well in their jobs.

Having said that, the core function of a university is to offer easy access to knowledge for its own sake. To put it another way, universities should teach students how to extract knowledge from existing information, and then how to create new knowledge from given knowledge. In fact, universities’ mission is to disseminate new knowledge, to shift paradigms, to help society in its sustainable development and in meeting radical challenges as they appear.

In my opinion, however, the crucially important role universities have been assigned is to generate highly skilled manpower and research outcomes to meet perceived challenges. That is to say, every university course should be applied in its very nature so that graduates can use their knowledge to solve problems as well as perform well in their jobs.

All things considered, it seems reasonable to conclude that both sides have merits. Therefore, universities should devise a system so that students can acquire deep knowledge while developing skill sets in a workplace context.

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