GREATER FREEDOM WITH LESS SPECIAL WORK MARK ENGLISH UNIVERSITIES
OXFORD STUDENTS INTERESTED IN POLITICAL MATTERS
Speaking yesterday to a CRIMSON reporter on the differences in the character of the English and the American University, Mr. Kenneth Lindsay, President of the Oxford Union, who is now in this country visiting American colleges in order to make a study of the attitude of the students towards foreign affairs, said:
"I have not been in this country long enough to speak very authoritatively on the American university. The distinctions from our own are not, so far as I can see, very marked. If anything our students have a greater measure of freedom. There are no compulsory lectures, and it depends entirely upon the personality of the professor and his skill in handling his subject matter as to whether his audience is five or five hundred. Ours is a voluntary system, Moreover, the studies of an Oxford man do not range over so large a field. He will study history or philosophy or science or literature, but he will not try to swallow all of them. I believe this is not the case in America. We do not put so much value in special training as in a well developed working mind. There is a philosophy course at Oxford from which men who get a high grade can pass directly into good business positions. The theory being that with a good sound mind anyone can be taught a business after he has entered it.
Less Stress on Examinations
"In America you seem to be going through a period of experiment. A prodigious amount of effort is expended in collecting data to be poured out at stated intervals. In England we place no such stress on our examinations. In correcting a paper the professor will try to see if you have a grasp of the subject in its relations to the world and whether you understand what the meaning of the whole thing is. I have heard a history professor tell a student that it was entirely unnecessary to include dates in his paper on the ground that he could readily tell without them whether or not the student had a grasp of the subject.
Have Interest in Politics
"The interests of our students are also, I think, somewhat different. A man at Oxford has at least some general knowledge of the affairs of the day, and has formed some definite opinion about them. While still at Oxford he decides, temporarily at least, upon his party affiliations and joins one of the four political clubs. These clubs are: Conservative Club, Liberal Club, Labor Club, and Coalition Club. Every Thursday the members of these four will meet at the Oxford Union and political discussion and debate upon the problems of the day take place in a more serious fashion, perhaps, than among coller students in America.