Complete Tutoring

An Arab businessman is looking for a private tutor to coach him into Oxford, on a salary of €146,700 (£122,300) a year.

The classified advert, placed in the Times Education Supplement last week, states that tutor should be available from 8am until 11pm, and would be expected to teach the anonymous businessman to speak perfect English, play jazz piano and cultivate an appreciation of opera and Shakespeare.

Although the advert never explicitly states that applicants must be female, the tutor is described throughout as “she”.

Standards for the position are high, with successful applicants expected to be “highly intelligent, erudite, well-read, musically accomplished… and socially and culturally versatile”.

According to the advert: “The tutor should constantly be researching and planning a culturally rich range of musical and dramatic performance, visits to art galleries and museums, restaurants, sites of historical or contemporary interest – any place or activity that the tutor thinks will be an essential part of this ‘life-curriculum’ in its most encompassing sense.”

Travel will be a key part of the job, the client expecting the tutor to travel with him to “a wide range of destinations throughout Europe and the rest of the world”.

Yihui Fan, an MSc student at St Anthony’s, commented: “I am not sure that is a competitive offer for a highly educated tutor (if the man with all the qualities he demands really exists). I am also surprised by the commitment he was willing to make. Sixteen hours per day? I am pretty sure that if someone is really that hardworking, then he will probably end up in Oxford or something similar.”

Michael Van den Brande, an MSc sociologist, questioned the motivations of the pupil, saying: “My point is: you don’t need to be cultured to be accepted by the University or by the people in Oxford[…]I am convinced that many people are offended by this advertisement. It seems that the businessman does not intend to come to university for the right reasons.”