During the final year of my degree, I became seriously disillusioned with the university environment. A feeling of dread began to grip me on my walk into campus because I knew that swarms of rowdy, disinterested students would inevitably block the main concourse, making it extra difficult to get into lecture halls and class rooms. That temporary impediment wasn’t the main complaint, however. I recall that several lecture halls were unfit for purpose. They were unfit simply because they were not designed to cater for over-subscribed courses.
I remember arriving on time for the first class of a module which was of great interest to me only to find that people were seated on the stairs, mindlessly muttering to one and other as they took out their note pads in preparation for the class to proceed. It seemed as if they were happy enough to have found an impromptu seat – there appeared to be no sense of discomfort in the environment. Disgruntled characters stood at the back (myself included) scowling at the sheer congestion, hoping that people would drop off or that the department would seek to house the lectures in a more appropriate setting. So I persevered for another couple of weeks, but there was no sign of change and eventually I lost the motivation to attend. Not only was it not conducive to learning, but it presented a very real hazard to the health of those souls who were intrepid enough to cram themselves in.
To this day I shudder at the thought of being on the over-crowded college campus. My disdain for it is such that I tend to avoid important zones such as the sauna-cum-library during peak hours – I cannot get work done when the environment I’m in makes me feel so uncomfortable. Woe is me.
Anyway, this problem won’t be ameliorated any time soon if the Galway Independent is to be believed regarding an educational reform plan that is set to be implemented across Ireland. We are going to see a merging of courses in regions that have a number of higher education institutes or in doublespeak, a removal of duplicate courses. Which begs the question, how, and where, will these merged courses be taught? With many class-rooms already jam-packed, will it be a case of jamming more?