This is a very Barry like thread.
What’s the problem with the UK? That Oxford and Cambridge are elitist? Is this even news? The rich look after themselves and each other wherever they are inn the world. Oxford is not a place to go to get a degree, it’s a place to network and meet the other high fliers that you’ll end up making deals with when you’re all grown up.
I haven’t got the energy to read the whole thing, but are the statistics used just numbers of offers or offers as a proportion of applications? If it’s just number of offers then that could just mean that significantly more people from the home counties are applying to Oxford and Cambridge than from up north.
I think, if you read under the statistics, that that is what it is saying.
But @fatso is also correct, for a change
Oh yeah, so it is, my bad
I always ask what is the point of these articles? The problem we have is not with ‘who goes where and how many apply’ and get in… but one of equal opportunity. The biggest mistake Blair made with his 50% going to University promise was firstly WHY? and secondly, converting colleges of further education and Polys to universities and thus creating enough courses for 50% was only ever going to dilute the value of any qaulification.
There is nothing wrong with having a institutions that cater for the very best- We need the brightest to be or doctors and entry standards are ridiculously high for a reason. We need institutions that attract the very best minds to solve the toughest of problems. The problem is not with having 10% of folks getting to univesity, but ensuring an EQUAL opportunity for all children to access an education standard that will allow them to reach their potential and thus compete on a level playing field for places at the best universities and most difficult/rewarding academic courses. Simply saying you have created that equal opportunity for getting a degree by ofering more places in many cases on course that are useless from a job/career perspective was ridiculous. It was a con, because it meant fees and increased debt…and avoided spending REAL money on schools, facilities and improved teacher/pupil ratios.
the problem with the UK?
Its cold wet and expensive.
And it is full of inbreds who, for some strange and unknown reason, think that they are special.
Not intending as a boast, but I’m lucky enough to have two smart kids. First one is much like me. It takes her effort to achieve. The second one is annoyingly bright and an absolute last minuter. She’s been earmarked for one of the outreach programs that Oxbridge does, the “gifted and talented” programme. The idea is to acclimate working class kids to a potential life at Oxbridge. It doesn’t really work. Having been a member for a couple of years, every indication is that she’s heading to another red brick, probably somewhere in the North.
The elitism is a problem, but it’s also a question of how practical it is. Students can’t do part-time jobs, so for kids of limited means, that means that they’re skint throughout the academic year, and have to spend all of summer working to get money to go back.
They have to do all of that while watching others that are fucking minted live it up. And yeah, we all experience that to a degree. I never really had an inkling of how poor we were until I rolled up to Tauntons College, and saw my class mates rolling up in Golf GTis or whatever. If you’ve just come from the inner cities and are studying with peeps that went to exclusive schools, gotta be all the more depressing.
The problem with the UK…?
It’s partly that our politicians think we ar bigger and more powerful than Johnny Foreigner. If it wasn’t for our financial sector (London) along with our willingness to sell arms to just about anyone then I think maybe we’d largely be considered an irrelevance on the world stage.
Shouldn’t they just merge the two universities and call it Coxford, Lou?
Kudos for the post, demerit for acclimate.
My lad was offered a place to read maths at Pembroke College Cambridge.
It was contingent on passing the Cambridge STEP exam.
He didn’t pass it so went to Durham and won the Lyndon Woodward Memorial prize for the highest mark in his graduating year.
He’s a bright lad.
His college tutor said that the people that did pass STEP were either brighter or came from private schools that had spent the final term preparing for the STEP exam.
He loved Durham and doesn’t feel like he missed out. Quite the opposite. But it shows that they system is stacked against proles like us.
You don’t read maths. That’s English you’re talking about.
We need a decent higher education system. Not all of it needs to be done at a University. Not all of it needs to be degrees. Lay the blame at the feet of Ken Clarke, the education minister that allowed those institutions to upgrade themselves into Universities, without really improving in the process.
When I arrived at what was once Liverpool Polytechnic, now named Liverpool John Moores University ( just “John Moores” to us students ) the HND was already a devalued currency, perceived to be the thing that the thick kids did. I was on the degree course, so don’t know what sort of quality the HND was.
There were a couple of difficult moments, but in general, getting a first was a piece of piss, for a few reasons.
First, our fresher year was almost a complete waste of time for anyone with prior experience of computing. It was essentially a foundation course, teaching “this is a computer”, woven into a degree.
Mostly though, I was super-prepared after doing a National Diploma at the Tech College, which I consider my true academic foundation. Computing nearly all the time, nearly all of it relevant. In three years, I did thirty different modules at this spanking new University. Only two of them have been professionally useful, and I was treading water for an entire year. It was a lucky sandwich student placement that saved it.
Going by that personal experience, can’t help thinking that it would have been much better if I’d been on a single course from 16 to 20, aimed at getting me a degree equivalent professional qualification, honing my skills in one direction, relevant to the folk who’d employ me. If such a system were instituted and delivered better outcomes to industry, that’d be a step forward in legitimising vocational courses and challenge the all-pervasive “you must have a degree” mantra that most employers seem to take.
It was a very Barry-esque style post! (sort of intentionally)
Because the more I experience life, the more I can see day to day how this really is the issue in this country (not…what was it - integration, or multiculturalism…or something).
People who go to Oxbridge, are the people who make the decisions. There are jobs in this country, you just can’t get, if you’re not one of the Oxbridge elite (no matter how smart or accomplished you are), and usually those jobs are in positions of significant influence. Media, advertising, politics. And usually those kids are trained by private schools on how to ‘get in’, and come from privileged, cocooned backgrounds. The Home Counties being the dominant influence on our country scares the life out of me!
I won’t give my examples of genius kids, from estates, who didn’t get into Oxbridge because they didn’t pitch themselves quite right. But those examples are all around. And until these ridiculous barriers are broken, we will always live in a class society, rather than meritocracy.
Oh, and I don’t think sending a kid to private school, to try and compete in this class controlled world is the answer. I understand why people do that, but I think it exacerbates the problem.
Haha - good one!!
Yeah - all of that!
It’s news, because we live in a hopefully progressive world, and you would hope our academic institutions would recognise the impact of these issues and year on year, and make some progress.
That they’re not, is the news.
I don’t agree with this - but I know I’m probably the only lefty person who doesn’t!
But I’ll at least explain my perspective.
Universities have always been elitest - for many years. Horrendously so in the 70s and 80s and earlier.
The opening up of universities has undoubtedly created a lot of micky taking about crap Polys, and the idea that a degree has been devalued. It also meant big issues with the funding of universities.
But I’d argue, a positive consequence (whether intended or not) is that whole new generations now have the expectation of going to university. Raised expectations in one generation, create even more expectations in the generation following. Working class kids who wouldn’t have been considered university potential, by career advisors, teachers, with fairly cliched and elitist ideas of what ‘university potential’ was, had an opportunity to take that first step. That has created a whole new idea of potential and possibility within working class families, and opened up the door, just a bit, to freedom of life expectation and ambition.
For me, even though I can understand the negative impact - that decision alone has done more to breakdown the destructive UK class system. Oxbridge is in my mind, without doubt, not catering for the very best.
I would love there to be a different education system having done 2 degrees I hated both and uni isn’t for everyone.
I attempted to get into the foreign office one bit had to have a test in some civil service fast stream thing (it was a long time ago). Failed test. It was some of those puzzle type things. Apparently they’re the same tests public schools do. So they have the advantage again.
Additionally there was an article about how few ethnic minorities are getting into Oxbridge.