Sunday, 27 January 2008

"Unsentimental Education" by George Monbiot

Flaubert's novel, Sentimental Education, is one of my all time favourites, so I raised an eyebrow at Monbiot's rather silly play on its title. Beyond that, he's spot-on with his assault on the ridiculuous idea that Private Schools shouldn't just benefit from being able to pick and choose students from the ranks of the wealthy and privileged, but we should be expected to subsidise them as well.

It is still a great insanity that the education of children should be dependent on the ability of a parent to pay for it. What happened to all being created equal? Injustice and class distinction is built into the system from the start. The idea tha tone person should receive a better education than another because his or her father made a killing from ripping-off privatised assets in the 1980s is obscene. Unless we are to accept the principles of aristocratic hereditary - and you only need to look at the ineptness of our aristocrats to see this is absurd - the inescapable conclusion is that an education system based on parental ability to pay for it is unjust, and (if calls for justice won't move you) allows mediocrity to florish, while holding back ability.
1 - "Unsentimental Education," by George Monbiot, published in the Guardian, 22nd of January, 2008. Available on (

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