Friday, March 16, 2007

Open University?

Be warned. Today I am going to have a rant, so if you are of a nervous disposition, now is the time to go and read someone else's blog!


I read in the paper this morning that from next year prospective university students will be required to state on their application forms whether or not their parents are unversity graduates. I think the world's gone completely mad. Apparently it will increase the number of students from "poor" backgrounds!


Now, neither DH or I are university graduates - I have been a nurse since 1973, and a Sister since 1989. DH is a chartered accountant. Both my parents left school at 14 with no formal educational qualifications. My mum went into service. Dad worked on the family farm till called up for army service in the War. His last paid work was as a milkman. MIL was a nurse and FIL was a plumber.

My eldest son was the first member of our family to attend university, with 9 A*s and an A at GCSE and 4 A's at A level, he went on to achieve a 2:1 in Economics at the LSE and now has a very good job in the City. He did this entirely on his own merits, regardless of who his dad and I are, and we are extremely proud of him.


In future does this now mean that his children could be penalised in favour of someone from a "poor" background ( as the government puts it ) regardless of ability? I simply don't understand. This family started from humble origins after all.


IMO it's a misguided attempt at social engineering, and it makes me very very cross.

12 comments:

nanatoo said...

Just what I was thinking this morning. I can hardly bear to listen to the news any more, it just makes me spit.

Seahorse said...

This had me in a fury too! I am a graduate, thanks to the encouragement of a Mum who had left school with nothing and had to work her way through the education system much later when she already had a job and a child. And now, apparantly, my own children could be penalised for it, whearas, presumably, if I'd sat on my ar$e all these years they'd be well away. Just NUTS!!!

gilraen said...

I so agree. My parents were graduates. My Dad went to University because an elderly priest paid for his education. My mother put herself through OU at 40. I did my degree as a mature student too and DH did a degree in Hotel Management at 18yrs. Where will that leave our kids and their choices. Bloody PC gone mad.

Why don't they really help those from poorer backgrounds with funding so they can afford to go to uni. Even more importantly why don't they improve the education of tiny kids. Research says that by the time they get through primary school the mould is set. Put more money in education and don't blame us who work hard!!!!

Sorry Joy for getting on a soap box on your blog. :)

Auntie Noo said...

I can't believe this it's total rubbish. I am very privaledged and come from - whilst not "rich" a "comfortable" background - I went to private school, I was very., very , very lucky! - But I didn't go to uni because it just didn't suit me....... so how do they work that out then????? I have to say that education as a whole just shocks me now, it's such a lottery and it makes me MAD!!!!

Knitbert said...

I agree with you all, the decision about granting places to applicants to university should be made on merit alone, and the best way to help "poor" students to go to uni is to improve early education and make funding more readily available. I really think we have lost the plot in this country sometimes.
Nice photos of the Severn BTW, you have obviously had a lot of rain!

Christina said...

maybe it might go the other way, and those whose parents didn't go to university will get places ahead of those whose parents did?? I think you should get a place at university on academic merit only, regardless of what your parents did - neither rich nor poor should be discriminated against.

dreamcatcher said...

I couldn't garee more, what a pathetic attempt at social engineering! It's like any of the quotas they come up with, totally pointless and creates such antipathy. I have a University degree but why should that affect anything? You can't fix education if you leave it until they do their A levels, if you don't get them at primary school then behaviour and expectations will be set. Tackle the real reasons behind under achievement and don't penalise those who have worked hard to get where they are!

blog-blethers said...

I agree with all that's been said! I was the first member of my family to go onto uni and am in the process of completing a Masters now (in my 40's). Access to education should be based on the academic merit and motivation of the individual and not on parental choices or experiences! Positive discrimination is not a robust way of making selection and often diminishes outcomes/ achievements in the eyes of others

Aknita said...

Phew - I'm so pleased it's not just me. University education - IMO - should be available to EVERYONE on merit, regardless of who they are or where they come from, and that is where funding should be channelled. That, and Primary School education, which is so underfunded it makes my blood boil!

Anni said...

I totally agree with you. My Dad has a degree (first member of his fmaily to have one) and my mum doens't. I don't as I never got around to it. My sister is a doctor. Simon has one full degree and has done 2 years of a radiography degree. so are our children 'privileged' or 'poor'. Income wise we're defnitely only average (I think). This si the toally ridicilous thing I've ever heard.

Anni said...

Forgot to say as well, that education level has nothing to do with income. I have friends with very little formal qualifications who are really quite rich. University education doen'st necessarily equal more money.

natalie said...

Maybe we should send them this blog and the comments!
Both DH and I are graduates... me at 43 and him at 38. My mum is triple graduate... one at 40 a PhD at 45 and an MA at 72... she's now on her fourth.
My eldest son will go to University in September... the first to go straight from school.
It makes not a jot of difference whether you have a degree as a parent (or grandparent), what matters is whether you want it badly enough to work your bu** off to get there.