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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pass me or I'll sue

Oh, this is just priceless.

A graduate at Queens University is suing the college because, get this, he reckons his human rights have been breached because he didn't do quite as well in his degree as he expected.

Andrew Croskery got a 2.2 degree in electrical engineering. What with the state of the current economy and the rampant grades inflation at work across the entire educational establishment, Mr Croskery no doubt realises that his degree won't permit him to study further and won't impress would be employers.

After all, they're already lining their waste baskets with CVs from people who actually earned first class degrees and masters degrees.

The poor diddums hasn't accepted that perhaps he should have hit the books a bit harder. Obviously, it's not his fault that he didn't do particularly well. Of course, it's the university's fault for not providing him with 'better supervision.'

I wonder what he means by better supervision. Did he expect the college to provide a mammy surrogate to get him out of bed and to his lectures on time? Or a study coach to sit him down and make him hit the books? I suspect what it means is that he expects them to simply give him the degree grade he wants, whether he earned it or not.

The High Court heard from some lawyer, who's presumably happy to bank a large amount of cash for pursuing this case, that: “It is obviously an important case for the applicant. He avers his employment prospects have been jeopardised."

It's self-evident that getting a poor grade jeopardises your job chances. But let's say he wins his case and Queens is forced to grant him a grade he didn't deserve. Then perhaps Mr Croskery might gain employment on the back of that grade with an employer.

What happens if the employer discovers that Mr Croskery isn't up to the job? Will he sue the employer for breaching his human rights too?

This sorry court case is the culmination of two odious trends in modern society. The first is one prevalent in education from kindergarten upwards - the idea that everybody wins, that no one fails, that top grades should be handed out to everyone for fear of someone's feelings being hurt.

The second trend responsible for this is the creeping culture of entitlement running rampant in society. Mr Croskery feels entitled to a better grade. It doesn't matter to him that he may not have done the work to deserve a better grade. He wants it, and feels it is his due, and therefore he must have it.

It will be fascinating to see how this case pans out. I genuinely believe it's possible though unthinkable that Mr Croskery might win.

What a wonderful precedent that would be. It opens up a second route to academic success - the courts - and slaps down one of the few remaining arenas of meritocracy left in society, permitting those who can afford it not only to access third-level education but also to buy, via a legal action, the grade they desire.

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