Cat Jones, of the Oxford University Student Union, told the Times Higher Education (THE) that some students work in excess of 50 or 60 hours a week, with some being set “three essays in one week”.
“At those levels, that’s clearly at the detriment of rigour, welfare and pedagogy,” she told the THE. “At that point, you are very much an essay machine; you are meeting deadlines rather than having time to learn and to reflect on what you are meant to be learning.”
Well I was at Oxford (did I mention this, ever?) and there were definitely periods when we had to write at least two essays a week on the English Literature course, especially in the first year when we were also learning Anglo-Saxon.
Also the stuff we had to read wasn’t Maya Angelou, or The Further Adventures of My Little Pony or My Brother, Myself by Phil Andros, like the English literature undergrads at Yale want to study in preference to Milton and Wordsworth who are too male, white and straight. It was often old and written in archaic language: Gawain and the Green Knight; the Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia; The Faerie Queene [which is, like, Elizabethan for The Fairy Queen] etc.
This, I recall, interfered quite massively with our drinking, partying, rowing and other distractions. Why, it was almost like the old dudes – the dons, the fellows, the professors etc – actually thought we’d come to Oxford (currently ranked number one for English Literature in the world – just thought I’d drop that one in) to study and expand our intellects.
Anyway, here’s the thing. When occasionally we found ourselves exposed to undergraduates from lesser institutions – my mates Tom, Gary and co down the road at Bristol, say – one thing struck us Oxonian visitors quite forcibly. Even though the Bristolians seemed burdened by a culture of tedious, American-style presenteeism – that is, like schoolkids, they were expected to go to lots and lots of lectures – they were generally given far, far fewer essays to write. Closer to one a fortnight than two a week.
Read the rest at Breitbart.