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  Para 1.The need for a satisfactory education is more important than ever before. Nowadays, without a qualification from a reputable school or university, the odds of landing that plum job advertised in the paper are considerably shortened. Moreover, one's present level of education could fall well short of future career requirements.

  Para 2.It is no secret that competition is the driving force behind the need to obtain increasingly higher qualifications. In the majority of cases, the urge to upgrade is no longer the result of an insatiable thirst for knowledge. The pressure is coming from within the workplace to compete with ever more qualified job applicants, and in many occupations one must now battle with colleagues in the reshuffle for the position one already holds.

  Para 3.Striving to become better educated is hardly a new concept. Wealthy parents have always been willing to spend the vast amounts of extra money necessary to send their children to schools with a perceived educational edge. Working adults have long attended night schools and refresher courses. Competition for employment has been around since the curse of working for a living began. Is the present situation so very different to that of the past?

  Para 4.The difference now is that the push is universal and from without as well as within. A student at secondary school receiving low grades is no longer as easily accepted by his or her peers as was once the case. Similarly, in the workplace, unless employees are engaged in part-time study, they may be frowned upon by their employers and peers and have difficulty even standing still. In fact, in these cases, the expectation is for careers to go backwards and earning capacity to take an appreciable nosedive.

  Para 5.At first glance, the situation would seem to be laudable; a positive response to the exhortation by a former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, for Australia to become the `clever country'. Yet there are serious ramifications according to at least one educational psychologist. Dr Brendan Gatsby has caused some controversy in academic circles by suggesting that a bias towards what he terms `paper' excellence might cause more problems than it is supposed to solve. Gatsby raises a number of issues that affect the individual as well as society in general.

  Para 6.Firstly, he believes the extra workload involved is resulting in abnormally high stress levels in both students at secondary school and adults studying after working hours. Secondly, skills which might be more relevant to the undertaking of a sought after job are being overlooked by employers interviewing candidates without qualifications on paper. These two areas of concern for the individual are causing physical and emotional stress respectively.

  Para 7.Gatsby also argues that there are attitudinal changes within society to the exalted role education now plays in determining how the spoils of working life are distributed. Individuals of all ages are being driven by social pressures to achieve academic success solely for monetary considerations instead of for the joy of enlightenment. There is the danger that some universities are becoming degree factories with an attendant drop in standards. Furthermore, our education system may be rewarding doggedness above creativity; the very thing Australians have been encouraged to avoid. But the most undesirable effect of this academic paper chase, Gatsby says, is the disadvantage that `user pays' higher education confers on the poor, who invariably lose out to the more financially favoured.

  Para 8.Naturally, although there is agreement that learning can cause stress, Gatsby's comments regarding university standards have been roundly criticised as alarmist by most educationists who point out that, by any standard of measurement, Australia's education system overall, at both secondary and tertiary levels, is equal to that of any in the world.


  1.It is impossible these days to get a good job without a qualification from a respected institution.2.Most people who upgrade their qualifications do so for the joy of learning.3.In some jobs, the position you hold must be reapplied for.4.Some parents spend extra on their children's education because of the prestige attached to certain schools5.According to the text, students who performed bally at school used to be accepted by their classmates.6.Employees who do not undertake extra study may find their salary decreased by employers.7.Australians appear to have responded to the call by a former Prime Minister to become better qualified.8.Australia's education system is equal to any in the world in the opinion of most educationists.

  Answer Keys

  1.F 2.F 3.T 4.NG 5.T 6.NG 7.T 8.T

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