The mediocre can speak

Avec le soutien de

With reference to the article published on the 4th of October in l’«express» by an elitist lecturer, we, year 3 students of B.A. (Hons) English, wish to examine some of the virulent points put forward in her write-up. We have no intention of adopting a personal vindictive approach but we shall certainly refute the acrid suppositions inflicted by her.

What is mediocrity?

You have used the word mediocre in your article and we are thus assuming that you are obviously aware of its meaning. Intriguingly, the OED defines the word mediocrity as «average in quality: second rate» which implies being neither brilliant nor poor (1991:338). Therefore, we believe that if someone is neither good nor bad at something, then there is a possible scope for progress. Learning is a continuous process and since you are one of those who believe in miracles, then you can try to provide more practical solutions to help students rather than blaming the entire educational system.

Elitist mindset – not to say short-sightedness

There are different new genres of writing available nowadays. We, the new generation, are far more exposed to different kinds of texts such as Manga or Comic books. There is nothing wrong if a B.A. ( Hons) English student reads Manga because those texts can also be used as points of reference.

Furthermore, the knowledge and development that a student acquires through his high school and tertiary career cannot be reduced to only the academic component. Through high school and university, a student gains numerous practical skills. At the university for example, through the Student Union or AISEC, one is able to master administrative and communicative proficiency, a good sense of duty, the opportunity to become more independent, etc… Those activities, far from rigid academic thinking, are equally contributing to our personal growth.

How about a solution?

It is indeed true that we cannot ignore issues which educators face in the educational system. We do understand the challenge for a lecturer to encourage students to think more critically. However, your adoption of a condemning and pessimistic attitude towards those students does not seem equitable. You vilify the whole system by displaying in your article, a cultural arrogance, which unfortunately does not benefit anyone. Being an intellectual, we believe that you are in a better position to provide constructive solutions in a poised and calm manner. For example, a foundation course, made available online or conducted at the university itself, might provide an insight into the programme and thus allow students to decide whether they want to enroll or back off. We are not here to tell you how to do your job but your publicized dispirited attitude is regrettably downgrading your own establishment.

Ultimately, we, B.A. (Hons) English students, BHAU-TOO your nonpareil contempt, your parochial attitude and your inability to trust your students.

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