The main purpose of a university is to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills needed for students to get a good job. To what extent do you agree?

Universities are centres of learning and the function of a university extends far beyond the role of merely providing graduates with skills needed in the workplace. Although, universities play an important role in training graduates in areas that require specialist skills such as law, medicine, engineering and finance, they also play a much broader role in developing individuals thinking and creative skills. In addition, universities contribute to a better understanding of the world through research and providing a community of educated people that discuss important cultural and political ideas.
Universities play a key role in training graduates in the workplace by providing key skills in fields that support the needs of the community, including medicine and education. In addition, universities also play a key role in liaising with other key organisations in society such as hospitals, courts, schools and professional bodies to ensure that students are adequately trained to undertake important roles in society.
However, universities offer a much more diverse range of courses than those that have clearly defined career paths. Courses such as in fine art, philosophy, languages and many of the sciences do not lead directly to specific jobs but are also a critical part of what universities provide. These courses provide much more general skills to the community, and their worth is in developing people who have a wide range of general skills, including thinking skills that are needed in a diverse society. Often the people who complete degrees in these areas do not work in the fields in which they are trained. Such people are adaptable and have good learning skills and can meet the many changing demands of the workforce and society in general. In addition, the thinking skills of all highly educated people are broadly beneficial to society because they are generally more understanding and have a more tolerant view of the world which helps create a better, more caring society.
A further key role of universities is as centres of research. Universities are one of the few organisations that attempt to understand the world without the need to create profits. University research often focuses on important fundamental problems that increase understanding of the world and later lead to great benefits. For example the structure of DNA and the first computers were created in universities but it was only decades later that these brought great benefits to society and profits to companies, but no company would invest in these sciences in the early stages of their development.
In summary, universities play a role in society that extends far beyond providing skilled jobs for the work force. The best examples of universities develop excellent thinkers. They are great centres of learning that have a very long-term view and provide research that continually changes the world for the better.

Essay Notes
Although students are generally familiar with some of the functions of a university, this question often provides challenges because students often fail to consider the function of universities beyond training graduates with specific skills. The training in specific functions that universities undertake is not the primary reason for their existence; universities are centres of learning and research. It is worth noting that the world wide ranking system for universities is based on the quality of a universities research, not the teaching that it does. Even within the sphere of undergraduate teaching there are many courses that do not lead to a career path (many areas in the arts and science fit into this category) and a good response should consider these areas. In addition, the work force is varied and rapidly changing and universities have little ability to keep up with workplace changes. Their role is to help people develop better thinking skills and a broad understanding of the area that is being studied.
The opening sentence of the introduction introduces the topic and the idea that the view of universities as training centres is very narrow. The essay has two ideas sentences that split the function of universities into two components, teaching and research. The first ideas sentence focuses on the teaching function because it is often what people first think of when they think of universities and is divided into two key areas, training for professions.
medicine, engineering etc.), and specific fields of learning (arts, sciences, mathematics etc.) that do not have obvious career paths. The second ideas sentence focuses on the research that universities do and the community of knowledge that they provide. Because of the length of the introduction, no thesis statement is used in this essay.
The first body paragraph describing the professional training that universities provide is deliberately short because it offers few ideas and the ideas are already familiar to most readers.
The second body paragraph covers the second idea presented in the introduction, which is the courses that universities offer extend far beyond training for specific professions. The idea is extended to suggest that the workforce requires people that can learn new skills and think well and that people who are educated benefit society in many different ways.
The third body paragraph covers the idea presented in the second ideas sentence in the introduction. Research is a critical part of the function of universities and plays a unique role in society because universities do not need to make a profit and can therefore study important problems that companies will not spend money on. This idea is supported by two relevant examples.
The conclusion provides a decisive opinion about the role of universities. The key ideas from the introduction are restated.

Essay Vocabulary
Diverse – Diverse/diversity refers to the amount of difference in a group of people or objects. This word has a very positive meaning as having different views, ways of life and choices is considered desirable because it broadens people’s ideas and experiences. Diversity is often used in phrases such as “cultural diversity”, “genetic diversity” and “a diverse range of … people, ideas, ages, interests, subjects, etc.”
Clearly defined career path – Clearly defined career paths are found where there is a common path that most students follow. For example, medicine, law, dentistry, accounting and engineering all have clearly defined career paths as most people who study these fields at university finish up working in these areas. Arts and many sciences do not have clearly defined career paths.
Adaptable – Adaptable describes people who have the ability to change accord

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