Model Answer - Ielts Writing (Task 2)

Some people think that universities should provide graduates with the knowledge and skills needed in the workplace. Others think that the true function of a university should be to give access to knowledge for its own sake, regardless of whether the course is useful to an employer.

What, in your opinion should be the main function of a university?

Many students attend university in order to prepare themselves for the workplace which demands that new employees have degrees, accompanied by the knowledge and skills needed to carry out their work competently. On the other hand, there are others who view university as a source of knowledge and a way to expand their general understanding of the world.

Those who view university as a training ground for future work have a limited view of the role of universities. There is no doubt that present employers regard qualifications highly. They want recent graduates to be able to begin being productive immediately. Our world has become specialised and knowledge narrowed to suit this trend. However, universities are supposed to broaden our horizons, expand our thinking and make us open-minded.

Knowledge is indeed a powerful tool. I believe the role of a university is to teach people how to think and cultivate their own independent ideas. Teaching a student how to use their brain means they can apply their knowledge to any situation successfully making them more efficient workers when they enter the workplace.

Think back to Ancient Greece where men spent all their lives in the pursuit of knowledge. Philosophers roamed the streets teaching students in open spaces without regard to future work prospects. Times have changed as have priorities. In a fast paced society, the university system resembles a factory that needs to produce efficient students for immediate work placement. I, on the other hand, am of the opinion that universities should provide knowledge for its own sake.

Cambridge, Ielts 7 past papers, p.102
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