Katherine Feeney writing in The Brisbane Times noted that Branson stated that there was an argument to be made in favour of redirecting government funding from the tertiary system into the hands of would-be business students by way of an entrepreneurial fund.
Branson made some telling points, such as that [Success] is far tougher to teach at university [than business], and, as an entrepreneur, you just need to be able to add up, subtract and multiply, and what matters is you create products that people really want.
In a recent article published in Christian Today titled "Australia requires both types of high income earners (1) degreed, and (2) no papers but with get up and go" a very similar theme was presented. (au.christiantoday.com)
Cited was a statement by Kira Duroux 23 a student at Sydney's University of Technology as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald recently who stated: "It was not possible to earn a decent wage without a bachelor's degree,". (www.news.com.au)
The Government had at that time abolished the student learning entitlement, which limited a person's eligibility to study at university as a government-funded student to seven years full-time study and more recently proposes $2.8 billion worth of cuts to universities and self education to free up funds for its Gonski school reforms.
Working parents of a past generation recognise that some kind of post high school certificate provides the where-with-all for a good paying job. TAFE is a case in point as are the various Trades. The old adage has an uncommon truth for their generation, that the economy is bad when doctors and plumbers start going broke.
This is only part of the story. As Sir Richard Branson noted, entrepreneurs and higher education have an unsettled relationship. Many of the entrepreneurs themselves have never had such a desire or seen a need for certificates of any kind, but realise the people within their enterprisers with these "qualifications" have helped make the entrepreneur very wealthy.
Even today, innumerable senior executives of major corporations are "without such tertiary certificate" as the criteria at that level is not your degree level but rather your credential in business.
But this not only applies to high profile executives, many much smaller businesses and companies were initiated by such entrepreneurial types and in the IT field they are common place. The nation needs such entrepreneurs as much as it does those with degrees. The two things provide very different applications to the work place.
But there is a third group for which degrees and higher learning are essential. The academic world is one, rocket science and physics, medical, biology and the rest of the sciences along with educational pursuits, all require high levels of accomplishments.
Similarly, there are different levels in Christian ministry training. There is a tenant of belief that the more training a Minister has, the better equipped for ministry, but like in the business world, this is far from the truth.
Again, it is horses for courses, and sometimes the Holy Spirit provides an anointing upon someone where certificates have come to the wrong address. But to say this is the norm would be far from the reality.
There is a growing application, especially now with theology distance learning recently being approved at degree level, that any pastor or minister who hangs out their shingle without appropriate recognition might be deemed to be on thin ice.
It is more so pertinent in today's world of litigation where even 'pastoral advice' is serious business. Herein, sadly lies the pertinent issue.
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