“Labour Minister gives offspring an unfair advantage in applying to top university? Surely not!” Or so was the cry from one indignant party at the news that Geoff Hoon has paid £3,000 to give his daughter a better chance of succeeding in her Oxbridge application.
What’s this? A parent paying to ensure their child’s success in life? A parent who wants their child to get ahead and will pay to see this happen?
As a Labour minister, Hoon’s actions are indefensible. He cannot hypocritically urge parents to resist paying for their children’s education and then disregard this himself. But is he the one truly at fault here?
If such such tactics did not work with the prestigious universities, they would not be so popular.
Every year, more and more students arrive at Oxford on the back on arduous coaching, which fails to inculcate any sort of passion or aptitude for their subject, merely an obsession with the fact that they have finally reached Oxford.
It would be laughable if it were not so disgraceful. The depressing truth, however, is that this is now the requirement to succeed at Oxford. The students coached to affect interest and flair for their subject are often the only ones capable of coping with the tortuous interview process and the relentless workload that follows.
The blame for the profileration of these courses does not lie with the parents who pay for them, such as Hoon. It lies with the University that exploits them by ensuring that it is the only way to survive an undergraduate course here.