Monday, October 05, 2009

Paying My Employer To Do My Job

This morning I was greeted with a note from the university that employs me that has everything to do with counting beans and nothing to do with advancing the agenda of higher education.

The note is from the IT department and its says that for the second month I have exceeded my internet quota of 30mb.

Read that again!

Yep, I said 30mb and not 30gigs.

According to them I owe the university in excess of a couple of hundred rand despite the fact that I use the connection mostly for work related stuff like updating several teaching blogs for students who have to access reading material from the web because the sh*t is not in the library.

See my political theory blog for example.

So, if I understand it all right then it seems that my employer now expects me to pay them to do my job.

This in addition to the stationery and other work related stuff I bought at the store because almost nothing is made available.

So what does higher education without pens, books, paper, and the internet look like?

My head hurts just trying to come to terms. I have a grand strategy for overall survival but it is failing me this very moment.

Believe me I am not in a bad mood. I am not even mad at being cooped-up in a time long gone where students are fed bullsh*t for the sole purpose of passing exams.

I am just beside myself thinking about the idiot mentality behind the decision to charge faculty for being connected to the web.

Oh yeah, students have it hard too, even harder is my understanding. Several have complained to me that they must pay each time they connect to the web and this is in addition to the standard tuition and fees.

So what to do? Should I get students to buy non-existent text books or Xerox mine and break copyright laws?

Or, should I send them back to the library to browse the yellowing pages of books that are hardly relevant?

The situation is frustrating. How can anyone in the brains trust that runs this country expect to produce students (they call 'em "learners" for some bullsh*t reason) who are critical thinkers?

Something needs to give. Something more than the development fixation on hosting the World Cup 2010.

What about developing education beyond the usual rhetoric?

As for me paying that little receipt the IT folks sent .... my check is in their email!

Unlike Raphael's Plato I have my middle finger raised in absolute defiance.

Onward!

6 comments:

Aasia said...

asidefrom the 30mb's which is very funny, since majority of Sa companies still impose that silly sod rule.

Working on the other end in education (read publishing) we can't get people to move away from archaic methods. Neither the students (I abhor the word learners) nor the faculty should be charged to have access to information.

Unlike Raphael's Plato I have my middle finger raised in absolute defiance.

Im goign to make a poster out of that last line!

Thanks for an enjoyable read and will be linking you.

Ridwan said...

Aasia it is an absolute pleasure to read you.

Thank you for your comment. And thank you for confirming that I am not just shouting 'mad' in a vacuum.

When I read your line on learners I thought "at last someone else sees the idiocy".

I have wondered when and where the term imposed itself. I expect that the answer may be somewhere in the quagmire of OBE.

Dunno for sure.

Perhaps if we start calling them students again they would actually learn something :)

The word student conveys so much more than learner. Students do more than just learn at school.

I know I am going on but there needs to be a serious rethink in terms of pedagogy at all levels of education.

That said :) ... thanks again for your valuable presence and for linking my site.

I will return the favor and link you here too.

Peace,
ridwan

Aasia said...

Yes the word student, shows a commitment to not just learn, but research an study.

We have some wonderful materials available which could be invaluable to students, if only we taught them how to seek it. But then will a self imposed 30mb, we can't expect them to sit and google!

Eugene said...

[head bowed and shaking at the stupidity]. That would be like me paying for the diesel to deliver the produce that I do for a living.

Dade said...

Ridwan, brother, this is an absolutely crazy situation. Judging from what you have written here, it sounds to me as if you're working for a corrupt institution.

I wonder if anyone has examined the books of your university? If they're charging faculty to use the internet, maybe they have to do it in order to... uh... Well, it just smells ratty.

Keep me posted. It sounds incredible.

Ridwan said...

*Aasia thanks for the follow-up comment. The students need all the help they can get.

**Eugene you are absolutely spot on. This kind of nonsense is routine.

There is so much paperwork to be filled out for purposes of assessing this and that ... and in it all the substance is missing.

South Africa is one of the most bureaucratized states I have ever encountered and yet just about sh*t ever gets done.

I will leave that for another day.

***Dade you are not too far off. The former director absconded the day I got my keys to my office.

Some rumors say he made off with more than a million bucks.

It has been a fiasco yet there is hardly a sign that he is being prosecuted.

Some say Interpol is on the case.

I used to think that all the talk about corruption and inefficiency in South Africa was just some old country finger pointing.

Not so.

The greatest challenge is bridging the gap between the rich and poor and corruption and inefficiency stand squarely in the way.

It is an absolute fact that South Africa is the most unequal society in the world. Even more than Brazil!

AnyHowze, thanks for your comments Aasia, Eugene, and Dade.

Onward!
ridwan