Getting into university is not The X Factor - Andrew Haldenby (Comment piece in the Times, yesterday)
If you can overcome the Tory rhetoric and get to the main point of the article, Andrew Haldenby makes a very valid point. Since when has a university education been everyone’s entitlement, as opposed to the reward for those exceptional and dedicated enough to deserve it?
It seems that Labour’s intention of making higher education accessible to all young people regardless of their financial situation got somewhat misguided and ended up making it accessible to all young people regardless of their intellectual ability.
Ironically, this has created a situation where a British degree is practically worthless when applying for jobs, which means that those successful in their chosen career are those with the financial means to support themselves while doing countless unpaid internships and work experience programmes.
This is especially true in the field of journalism, where a work placement (ie working for free) actually constitutes part of our degree, and yet we are expected to schedule it for the Summer holidays, when students are usually working in order to be able to support themselves during term time.
Perhaps it would be a more logical approach to limit university places to applicants good enough to deserve them and fund these selected few so that they aren’t forced into thousands of pounds of debt before they even have their first job.
Like Andrew said, if you don’t win the X Factor, you don’t demand Simon Cowell creates more first places, you accept that you are not good enough and move on.