Critical Thinking Assessment - Steven Schwartz Essay

Critical Thinking Assessment - Steven Schwartz Essay

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Critical Thinking Assessment - Steven Schwartz, Times Higher Education September 2012

After analysing data taken from the Australian education system, Steven Schwartz has arrived at the conclusion that,“Britain needs more graduates”. Believing that the influx of more students to universities in Britain will have a favourable outcome when analysing graduate prospects, university rankings and economic prosperity. Situated at the foundations of his argument are the key premises that an increase in the number of graduates in Britain will lead to; lower unemployment, higher levels of skilled labour, greater quality of life and an overall increase in the quality of universities.

Within Schwartz’s argument are also some unstated premises. Firstly is the idea that if barriers to entry were removed then enrolments would soon rise, a belief refuted heavily in the critique of making it easier for students to attend university. As evidence for this premise Schwartz has cited the recent removal of enrolment quotas in Australia’s university system and the subsequent rise in enrolments. Evidence for this viewpoint can be highlighted in the large slump of university applicants in the UK in 2012, as a result of rising tuition fees. Suggesting that there are in fact students who would apply if the surrounding circumstances were more accommodating. However, more recently in the UK university enrolment has reached levels equal to those before raises in tuition fees. On the whole this corroborates with the idea that if people want to go then they will go. Despite less advantageous circumstances, enrolment has remained fairly constant. A view shared by critics of Schwartz, who proceed with the central premise that it is delusional that “people who ar...


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...his scenario undermines Schwarz’s target conclusion of “Britain needs more graduates” as the current environment cannot support more graduates. Critics of the question at hand conclude that “more will mean worse.”, this conclusion rests upon a fallacy of equivocation. ‘Worse’ is lexically ambiguous and consequently undermines their ideas as for whom or what is a rise in graduates worse for?

In conclusion, Schwartz has provided us with a deductive argument, whereby the premises have lead to the justification for the conclusion that “Britain needs more graduates”. Unfortunately the premises are debatable and rely upon many variables. Nonetheless, throughout his argument Schwartz’s reasoning has followed a logical structure and consequently his argument can be said to be valid. Whether his argument is sound depends upon whether all of its premises are actually true.

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