Monday, 22 June 2009

What PhD students are supposed to be doing...

I am reading a great book on Higher Education in Sudan today by Mohamed El Amin Ahmed El Tom (thank you Paul!). It is really refreshingly great! I found a nice couple quotes about what higher education should be all about:

First, Egron-Pollack: "one of the most important roles that higher education institutions need to play both in developed and developing countries, remains that of the critics of the established truths, the questioners of the rules of the game, those who bring to light the contradictions, debate the ethical and moral issues facing societies." 


And then we have Said, describing "intellectuals": "The central fact for me is, I think, that the intellectual is an individual endowed with a faculty for representing, embodying, articulating a message, a view, an attitude, philosophy or opinion to, as well as for, a public. And this role has an edge to it, and cannot be played without a sense of being someone whose place it is public ally to raise embarrassing questions, to confront orthodoxy or dogma (rather than to produce them), to be someone who cannot easily be co-opted by governments or corporations, and whose raison d'etre is to represent all those people and issues that are routinely forgotten or swept under the rug. The intellectual does so on the basis of universal principles that all human beings are entitled to expect decent standards of behaviour concerning freedom and justice from worldly powers or nations, and those deliberative or inadvertent violations of these standards need to be testified and fought against courageously. "


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