I had a conversation with a cousin who is attending a college. She mentioned that she was having to take a course in organic chemistry. This course is so difficult that it is expected that students will fail the first time through and will have to repeat it. A student who passes with a C+ or B- the first time is considered extremely smart.

Whether intentionally or otherwise, such courses as this serve the function of qualifying students for entry into a related profession, creating barriers to entry and restricting the numbers of students who can qualify.   This is usually considered a good thing by professionals, but not so good by everyone else.

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