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 function of a university?
This essay question is from Cambridge IELTS 7 Test 4 Writing Task 2.
There have always been competing views about what the function of a university should be. I believe its main purpose should be to prepare students for work. For one thing, this offers them a higher return on their investments and, for another other, it is universities’ responsibility to provide employers with the kind of talent they need.
To begin with, higher education will be a better investment for students if it focuses on preparing them for work. If people want to learn something for its own sake, they can read some books or buy some online courses, which wouldn’t cost them much. They take on huge student loans to go to university in the hope that the knowledge and skill sets they acquire there can get them a high-paying job that allows them to live a good life.
In addition, as important institutions of society, universities should be responsible for cultivating talent that matches the job market. The kind of talent that is in high demand indeed reflects the direction in which society is heading. For example, tech companies are now competing for talented people with computer science degrees because they need them to make new technologies such as virtual reality mature. If universities don’t supply the right skills to meet the demands of employers, many industries will advance at a much slower pace.
In conclusion, tertiary education should aim to prepare students for the workplace. If it doesn’t, students’ investments will be wasted and universities will fail their social responsibility.