Bloody dependent students
Official thinking dictates that universities should be responsible for the production of entrepreneurial young people who will revitalise the economy through their enterprise and endeavour. Unfortunately all indicators are that government policy, especially the scrapping of grants, has breed a culture of dependency among students.
The BBC reports here that the University of the West of England is having to persuade overprotective parents to leave their children’s student accommodation where some seem to have taken up residence. Elsewhere the BBC reports that so many parents have been chasing university places for their children that the admissions system is now letting parents act as agents, negotiating with universities on behalf of their children.
Known disaffectionately as ‘helicopter parents‘ because of how they hover over their offspring – these parents sit in on student interviews, trail around campus orientation sessions, interfere at registration, vet potential room-mates, and are likely to phone lecturers for updates on their children’s progress and with excuses for the late submission of coursework.
Of course, such behaviour is hardly surprising since many parents are paying for their kids time at university, while students supplement their parents’ contribution with loans and part-time jobs. This means that tomorrow’s captains of the new economy are currently domiciled and cosseted at home with mum and dad, distracted from their studies by their job at Tescos and up to their eyes in debt. With fees looking set to increase and Peter Mandelson suggesting that university courses should be shorter (2 instead of 3 years), parents are set to pay more for less. How students will find the time for even part-time jobs when their courses will presumably be more intensive is anybody’s guess, but at least the loan companies will continue to profit, because that is what university is really all about these days – saddling young people with debt, because higher education has certainly got fuck all to do with education or transition to adult independence.