Bianca Hall cites the census executive director, Andrew Henderson, who explained that between 2006 and 2011, the number of people who completed a postgraduate degree rose from 413,093 to 631,121, an increase of 52.8 per cent. Those who held a bachelor degree rose by 27.2 per cent, from 1.8 million to 2.3 million.
In October my wife Delma and I had the privilege of attending the graduation of our fourth, Salley who is now a B.Comm (Commerce) through the ACU. One of the interesting aspects was that we were told that tickets were essential and so dutifully, we secured tickets for this momentous occasion.
We had made a point of attending our other three's graduations and these extended from Armidale in regional New South Wales, the ANU in Canberra and Bedford (private) in Sydney (a grand-father paid the bill).
So it was with the same enthusiasm and family commitment we all dressed up for the graduation with our tickets in hand. We were well on the way in the taxi from North Sydney into Darling Harbour when the custodian of the tickets (the Bedford one) had left them behind.
The taxi driver found a way back over the Harbour Bridge, back to the Rydges, collected the tickets and back we went arriving 5 minutes before the said start time. Alas, there was no one on the door, the auditorium at the Darling Harbour Convention Centre may have been 60% filled and we looked at the tickets, looked at each other, looked at the taxi bill, but it was a fun and proud occasion.
Academic achievement is no small thing
The speeches were very pleasing, it took all of 40 seconds to have a named called, walk across the platform, touch the academic hat honouring the Chancellor, receive the degree certificate, shake hands, have the photo taken, and it was done!
Nothing much has changed. In my day, 35 years ago it was the same. My parents came to honour me when I received my theological degree at Morling College in Sydney, and it was much the same with out other three in Armidale, ANU and Sydney.
But what pleased us were the huge numbers of those who were of migrant parents or were overseas students studying in Australia. These students were the products of family philosophies that placed a 'high collar' on education, receiving the accolades of such achievement. Looking around the auditorium were the smiles and tears of such parents and families as their children or relatives received their honours. .
Academic achievement is no small thing and in a recent article published in Christian Today, Kira Duroux 23 a student at Sydney's University of Technology commented that it was not possible to earn a decent wage without a bachelor's degree. (au.christiantoday.com)
Seminaries and Bible Colleges
One might not be surprised at such an observation by a young secular student, but it seems that there is a direct parallel in seminaries and Bible colleges, that professional training in a world of the litigious, might not be such a bad idea.
Morling College in Sydney (NSW Baptist), the largest seminary in Australia with over 700 students engaging in various stages of their theological academic life (some of them in distance education) is bursting at the seams.
This is the tip of the iceberg. Everywhere I go throughout Australia, the story is the same, the seminaries are full, the Bible colleges are reeling with students (young and mature aged) and more so, the Pentecostal churches with in-house bible schools (known by the most fantastic catchy titles), are so full that the pastor's need to wear two belts to cater for the notches.
All this is tremendous and exciting for Christian ministry into the future. Who would think that in Australia, full of secularism and hedonism, there is this undercurrent of young people full of grace with the good-news ready to burst out into the world around them.
What a great time to be alive to be part of this Gospel adventure!
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html