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Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

For discussions related to education and educational institutions.
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getreal
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#21 Post by getreal » December 8th, 2008, 9:01 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Wearing the cloak of anonimity that is posting on the internet, I would just like to say the following (deep breath).....

I always had a chip on my shoulder because, unlike my friends, I did not go to university straight from school. Instead I completed nurse training.
Many, many years later, I had the time and inclination to "convert" my vocational qualifications into CAT points and complete a degree.

I did this part time over a very l-o-n-g period. There appeared to be no limit to the length of time you could take to finnish the degree and similarly, there seemed to be no limit to the number of times you could re-sit modules. I say "seemed" here, because I didn't fail any and never spoke with anyone else who failed.
I am not sure if it was because I was now older than most (probobly all) of the other students, but I was surprised at the standard which was required for some of the modules.
One module I completed by reading a popular science book which formed the basis of my final essay (which was absolute, rambling pish. I was gobsmacked I passed!)

Overall, I thought the standard was very poor, and was, in fact, much lower than some of the professional exams I had taken.

Maybe my experience was unusual.
Maybe I'm a genious (who can't spell).
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Alan C.
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#22 Post by Alan C. » December 8th, 2008, 10:54 pm

getreal
Maybe I'm a genious (who can't spell).
:pointlaugh: Thanks for that, it made me laugh whether intentional or not.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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getreal
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#23 Post by getreal » December 8th, 2008, 11:07 pm

you're very welome!

(I also made a syntax error in an earlier post. Shhhhhhhh!)
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Paolo
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#24 Post by Paolo » December 9th, 2008, 11:24 am

getreal wrote:I always had a chip on my shoulder because, unlike my friends, I did not go to university straight from school. Instead I completed nurse training.
Many, many years later, I had the time and inclination to "convert" my vocational qualifications into CAT points and complete a degree.
...
Overall, I thought the standard was very poor, and was, in fact, much lower than some of the professional exams I had taken.

Maybe my experience was unusual.
I think there are some good points here.

Most university undergraduate courses cater for school-leavers who have little knowledge about their chosen course beyond what they learned at "A"-level. Mature students with professional experience will therefore generally find the level of the teaching below what they may have been hoping for. Let's face it, a Batchelor's degree is geared up like an entry-level professional qualification.

Old-school Universities also tend to be less good at teaching vocational skills than other learning institutions (ex-polytechnics and colleges). I would suggets that for a vocational role like nursing a degree is probably not a very appropriate mechanism for learning what is required for the job, compared to more vocational qualifications.

I used to do some teaching in a University and I was appalled at the poor knowledge of some of the students. The transition from "O"-levels to GCSE's left a considerable gap in knowledge that "A"-levels now have to fill before embarking on further teaching. As a result, first year undergraduates enter university without the knowledge-base that was once expected from them. Again, this leads to slack that must be taken up in the first year of university, just to get everybody up to speed - not just in terms of information, but in terms of learning how to learn, since universities do not use the "spoon-feeding" approach that schools use for teaching. This partly explains the sudden explosion in "AS"-levels and Masters degrees over the past decade or so - they are needed to fill the gaps opened by changes in the secondary education system.

I do think that the quality of university courses is very much determined by the institution and their history of teaching and researching particular subject areas. New courses crop up all the time and mostly these will be cobbled together to meet demand - in other words they are driven by the need for income. Often this will result in lower quality education than would be obtained in an institution with a long history of teaching that subject matter, partly because the logistics and content of the courses have not had time to be tested. That is not to say that new institutions don't do well. For newer subject areas they can often be better equipped and offer excellent educational support.

Overall, I think that the qualifications available from universities are all devalued to some extent, at least until you hit the PhD level. The competition and requirements at that level are much greater and the structure of the qualification is not teaching led, so I suppose that not all levels of university are dumbed down.

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getreal
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#25 Post by getreal » December 10th, 2008, 8:06 pm

my degree wasn't actually in nursing. I intentionally chose something else.
Mostly because I was a wretched nurse.
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

Lucretius
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#26 Post by Lucretius » December 11th, 2008, 2:52 am

Here is me in my 4th year of a Microbiology degree when all along I could have done a degree in "make believe."

:-(
"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken

tubataxidriver
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#27 Post by tubataxidriver » December 11th, 2008, 4:51 pm

One of the big problems with the current "teach to the test" approach is that children are not being "educated" any more (in the sense of being able to learn by themselves). Everything is spoon fed and they often lack the ability to research subjects or enter new fields on their own. Anything not on the syllabus is to be ignored. I seem to remember being educated in almost the opposite way - being encouraged to look into new areas and find out for myself, with the teacher there as a guide and explainer if needed.

[Sorry, Scots, this next bit is about the English system.] There is still a serious problem in maths as used in science and engineering. Children at GCSE level are exposed to complex topics so late in the course that they still feel uncertain about a topic as they come into exams, and then A-level repeats this. Back in my day most bright children would take the full maths O-level at 15 rather than 16, and be on to calculus and advanced algebra by the time kids are now still taking the GCSE. The problem in my view is the wasted three years of Key Stage 3, where they endlessly repeat work probably done already in primary school.

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Alan H
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#28 Post by Alan H » January 22nd, 2009, 12:25 am

********************************************************************************
Needle over acupuncture course - News - Manchester Evening News
http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/ ... ure_course
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Needle over acupuncture course
Yakub Qureshi
21/ 1/2009

A UNIVERSITY has scrapped a course in acupuncture and aromatherapy branded `anti-science' by critics.

Salford University said the three-year degree in traditional Chinese medicine didn't fit with the `strategic direction' bosses want to adopt.

The move is part of wider cuts which will see 150 teaching and support staff jobs axed.

The university was one of only three institutions in England to run a full-time homeopathic course and had come under attack from doctors who said the subject flew in the face of scientific research.

Two years ago respected pharmacy professor David Colquhoun attacked Salford University for running the complementary medicine course which, he said, relied on `magical and superstitious beliefs' and `anti-science'.

But students and staff have launched a campaign, denying their course is a `Mickey Mouse' degree. They say scientific opinion is still split over the effectiveness of traditional treatments.

First-year student Gary Leese, who is organising a petition, said: "Why did the university launch the course if they didn't think it was good enough?

"We learn about anatomy, pharmacy, and history. All our teachers are very experienced in their field. We think the university is mad to cut this, when it is a profitable course and there is great interest in it."

About 70 students are currently enrolled on the degree.

Although no new students will be admitted, existing ones will be allowed to finish their degrees, with the course winding up in 2011. Some teaching staff will continue to run short courses, but the majority will lose their jobs.

A university spokesman said: "We plan to run out the undergraduate programme in traditional Chinese medicine for financial and strategic reasons.

"Two full time equivalent roles from the course and complementary and alternative medicine will be removed under voluntary agreements.

"However, the Faculty of Health and Social Care continues to maintain a complete commitment to students and it will be some years before the courses cease to exist."

The university is making job cuts in a bid to make £13m savings to invest in new buildings, including a site at MediaCity.

[Retrieved: Thu Jan 22 2009 00:25:04 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#29 Post by Alan H » March 16th, 2009, 4:09 pm

For some reason I didn't include chiropractic or osteopathy in my UCAS table, so here they are:

Anglo European College of Chiropractic (A65) Master of Chiropractic (B320) 5FT Hon MChiro
University of Glamorgan, Cardiff and Pontypridd (G14) Chiropractic Foundation Year (B326) 1FT FYr FYr
University of Glamorgan, Cardiff and Pontypridd (G14) Master of Chiropractic (B320) 4FT Hon MChiro

British College of Osteopathic Medicine (B81) Masters in Osteopathy (B312) 4FT Hon MOst
British College of Osteopathic Medicine (B81) Osteopathic Medicine/M.Ost.Med (B311) 5FT Hon BSc/MOstM
British School of Osteopathy (B87) Master of Osteopathy (B110) 4FT Deg MOst
University of Greenwich (G70) Osteopathy (B310) 4FT Hon BSc
Leeds Metropolitan University (L27) Osteopathy (B310) 4FT Hon BSc
NESCOT, Surrey (N49) Master of Osteopathy (B310) 4.5FT Hon BSc/MOst
NESCOT, Surrey (N49) Osteopathic Medicine (B991) 4FT Hon BSc
Oxford Brookes University (O66) Osteopathy (B310) 4FT Hon BOst

Note that they've had to make up degrees for some of these: Bachelor of Osteopathy, Master of Chiropractic, etc, but many still claim to be science.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Ninny
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#30 Post by Ninny » March 16th, 2009, 5:07 pm

getreal wrote:I was a wretched nurse.
So was I, getreal! I hated every minute of it. Almost as bad as being a mother, except that with nursing you eventually get to go home!

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Ninny
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#31 Post by Ninny » March 16th, 2009, 5:12 pm

I keep going back to university; this time I'm doing an MA in poetry. Absolutely useless in itself, but immensely enjoyable.
Why do people think education should be "for" something?
Why does the myth persist that undergraduate students are all school-leavers?
If there are no jobs any more, should we pack in education altogether, on the grounds that there is no market to train people for?
(This is a contentious one)- is it worse to train somebody in something meaningless like homeopathy that not to educate them in anything at all?

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Alan H
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#32 Post by Alan H » March 27th, 2009, 4:09 pm

The University of Westminster has some pages on student health. All well and good. However, on the one about hay fever, they gave some sound advice, and some not so sound advice:
Current Events

Hay fever

What is it and what causes it?


Hayfever is a seasonal allergic reaction to plant pollens & spores in the air (allergic rhinitis). If a person is sensitive to these pollens the body releases a substance called histamine which causes inflammation, irritation & fluid production in the lining of the nose, sinuses & eyes. Allergic rhinitis occurs commonly from March to October, particularly in young people. It tends to run in families.

What helps?

General measures

* · Try to stay indoors when pollen count is high, keeping windows & doors closed
* · Avoid open grassy places,& parks where trees are coming into blossom
* · Avoid newly mown lawns; weeding or bringing fresh flowers into the house
* · Avoid smoke & heavily polluted areas
* · Splash your eyes with cold water after you’ve been outside
* · Wash hair & body, change clothes, if you’ve been in grassy areas
* · Wear fitted and/or wrap around spectacles

Medication

Antihistamines – often relieve sneezing, runny noses & sore eyes; newer brands cause less drowsiness

Nasal sprays & drops – work by blocking the body’s allergic response in the nose & eyes only eg sodium cromoglycate

Homeopathy – can be used with good effect. Can be obtained from Boots or Holland & Barrett; or Ainsworth’s Homeopathic Pharmacy, 36 New Cavendish Street, W1

Remember to avoid caffeine & mint for at least 1hr prior to taking treatment:

* Ainsworth’s Mixed Pollens: as a preventive @ 3 weeks prior to the season
* Alium cepa: for an acute attack with running eyes & nose, sneezing, sore lips, & which is worse indoors & toward evening; irritation can spread to ears & throat
* Arsenicum Alb: burning or itching eyes, nose, throat; thirst, anxiety
* Euphrasia: for itching, running nose, red watery eyes & frequent sneezing


Note:

Tree pollens are released late Feb-March
Grasses pollinate from May
Flowers & weeds June-September

For further info visit:
http://www.patient.co.uk/showdoc/23068751/
http://www.hayfevertreatment.co.uk/
http://www.theallergysite.co.uk/hayfever.html
(My emphasis.)

Well. I wasn't too happy with this, so I emailed their Health Team:
I note on your website on the Current Events page, that you recommend homeopathy for hay fever (allergic rhinitis).

You say:
Homeopathy – can be used with good effect. Can be obtained from Boots or Holland & Barrett; or Ainsworth's Homeopathic Pharmacy, 36 New Cavendish Street, W1

Remember to avoid caffeine & mint for at least 1hr prior to taking treatment:

* Ainsworth's Mixed Pollens: as a preventive @ 3 weeks prior to the season
* Alium cepa: for an acute attack with running eyes & nose, sneezing, sore lips, & which is worse indoors & toward evening; irritation can spread to ears & throat
* Arsenicum Alb: burning or itching eyes, nose, throat; thirst, anxiety
* Euphrasia: for itching, running nose, red watery eyes & frequent sneezing
I note that of the three websites you link to on that page for further information, two do not mention homeopathy as a possible treatment (http://www.patient.co.uk/showdoc/23068751/ and http://www.hayfevertreatment.co.uk/) and the third (http://www.theallergysite.co.uk/hayfever.html) says:
However, there is no good evidence that alternative medicine improves the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Since there is no scientific or medical evidence that homeopathy is efficacious for either treating or preventing hay fever (or any other medical condition), will you please consider removing this erroneous and misleading advice from your website?

Thanks.
It took a while and several reminders to get a response, but I've just received the following:
I do apologise for the delay in getting back to you.
The MedicalTeam has considered your concerns, and the item has been removed from the website.
The new page can be seen here.

A result! I've asked a supplementary question to try to confirm that they have done this because they acknowledge that giving such advice is not appropriate and that they will not give any such advice if consulted.

However, I do wonder how they came to this decision? Did they perchance consult their own Department of Complementary Therapies, or their research team looking at the Evidence-Base for Complementary Therapies?

After all, they do offer the following courses for 2009 (see previous post in this thread for a full list):
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Complementary Therapies (B255) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Herbal Medicine (B342) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Homeopathy (B252) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Naturopathy (B391) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Nutritional Therapy (B400) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture with Fdn (B341) 4FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Comp Therapies with Fdn (4 yrs) (B300) 4FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Herbal Med w Found (4 yrs) (B340) 4FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Homeopathy with Fdn (4 yrs) (B390) 4FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Naturopathy with Foundation (B392) 4FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Nut Therapy w Found (4 yrs) (B402) 4FT Hon BSc
(Source: UCAS website) See here for details of their courses.

So, it looks like the health professionals at the University know full well (as they damn well should) that homeopathy is nonsense but just haven't got round to telling everyone else there!
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan C.
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#33 Post by Alan C. » March 27th, 2009, 4:22 pm

I wonder why on the website, they have removed
Antihistamines – often relieve sneezing, runny noses & sore eyes; newer brands cause less drowsiness

Nasal sprays & drops – work by blocking the body’s allergic response in the nose & eyes only eg sodium cromoglycate
As well as the homeopathic shite?
They now just say
Medication

A range is available - come and speak to one of the nurses or visit your Pharmacist
Makes you wonder what the nurses will recommend.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#34 Post by Alan H » March 27th, 2009, 4:39 pm

Alan C. wrote:Makes you wonder what the nurses will recommend.
I spotted that as well [---][/---] that's why I sent them a follow-up email. I'll let you know what answer I get.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#35 Post by Alan H » March 30th, 2009, 8:42 pm

Hey! At least they have now given up on their BSc (Hons) homeopathy woo course! See the excellent DC's Improbable Science website:

The last BSc (Hons) Homeopathy closes! But look at what they still teach at Westminster University
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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SarahJade
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#36 Post by SarahJade » April 1st, 2009, 6:56 pm

I go to King's College. I was informed by the course co-ordinator the other day that they deduct 10% from the mark we deserve - so an 80% becomes a 70%. I don't quite understand why - a prestige/reputation thing? I don't particuarly mind not being awarded the grade they feel I should be awarded; although it is a little frustrating that I could potentially have gone to a university in which I would have been spoon-fed and received a full grade higher for the pleasure!

.... Mind you Im studying for a Master of Arts so I guess my subject already counts in the list of pointless subjects ;)

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Alan C.
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#37 Post by Alan C. » April 1st, 2009, 7:07 pm

SarahJade
Mind you Im studying for a Master of Arts so I guess my subject already counts in the list of pointless subjects
:laughter:
Not at all Sarah, I think you'll find we only go for the jugular in matters of pseudo science and junk "alternative" therapies, art is good :thumbsup:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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SarahJade
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#38 Post by SarahJade » April 1st, 2009, 7:15 pm

haha good to know! And I quite agree!

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Alan H
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#39 Post by Alan H » April 1st, 2009, 8:06 pm

We can be particularly cruel about pseudo scientific woo!

When I saw you were a student in London, I wondered if I had talked to you today at Lambeth College [---][/---] until you said you were doing an MA at Kings.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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getreal
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#40 Post by getreal » April 1st, 2009, 8:56 pm

better not mention my post graduate qualification in crystal therapy, then.
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Alan H
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#41 Post by Alan H » April 1st, 2009, 10:11 pm

getreal wrote:better not mention my post graduate qualification in crystal therapy, then.
No. Not a good idea! :D
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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