Reforming the universities

George Monbiot recommends:

There is a short and simple solution, first proposed 11 years ago by the journalist Peter Wilby. Oxford and Cambridge, he suggested, should offer places to the top one or two pupils from every school, regardless of grades. The next-best universities would offer places to the pupils who come third and fourth, and so on downwards. There would be some adjustment for the size of the school, but the brutal logic holds.

Something like this has actually been done over in the US hasn\’t it? One of the State university systems guarantees a place to anyone who comes in the top 10% of their high school graduating class?

So, our first task would be to go and look at what has actually happened rather than rushing off to implement an idea some columnist pulled out of his arse to make a column.

I\’d also note that you\’d find an awful lot of the children of those upper middle classes would be going to two pupil schools….but that\’s another matter.

16 thoughts on “Reforming the universities”

  1. Monbiot explains eloquently, if inadvertently, why the Left have to go. There was a time when the Left stood for, or at least thought they stood for, or at least pretended to stand for, dismantling privelege and the class system. Nowadays they stand for supporting and indeed intensifying the systems of class and privelege, but with the sweetener that “everybody can have a go” at becoming one of the priveleged class. They call this “social mobility”.

    That is, they’re more than happy that some people will get all sorts of unfair advantages in life because they got a bluffer’s degree at Oxford and imbedded themselves in the ruling class, because after all that’s how most of the Left ruling class got where they are today. They just want every nominal gramscian group to have equal numbers in the oligarchy, so that they can then say they’ve created “equality” by a particular measure.

    This is why I’m a Libertarian. Or at least one reason I’m a Libertarian. It’s the only hope for the emancipation of the proleteriat. Either we can fight for a state where we all rule ourselves, or we can be ruled by Monbiot and Ritchie. Not a hard choice is it?

  2. If ever there was an idea that epitomised being pulled out of an arse, that idea is it.

    As IanB correctly states, MonBioRot outlines why the vile, inhuman, entropic, pestillential curse of Socialism should be exposed for what it is.

  3. Ian B,

    There was a time when the Left stood for, or at least thought they stood for, or at least pretended to stand for, dismantling privelege and the class system. Nowadays they stand for supporting and indeed intensifying the systems of class and privelege, but with the sweetener that “everybody can have a go” at becoming one of the priveleged class.

    It’s been there for a while – the Arts Council was established under a Labour government with the idea that the working classes should be “elevated” to appreciate the arts like the middle classes.

    But until the demise of the unions it was always fighting with the more old Labour values which were about putting more money into the pockets of the poor.

    I believe that something people haven’t grasped about the support for the BNP is that it’s not just about race. It’s more about them representing something closer to old Labour values.

  4. That would lead to even greater growth in Media Studies, and even more closing of Physics departments. And so – more Nurdgaia readers, QED.

  5. @dearieme
    As usual the old Two Cultures debate (who should run the country science or arts graduates?) comes out of the shadows. Margaret Thatcher kept the science gang quiet for a while with her disastrous attempt to run the country with no grasp of history.But since scientists still have no respect for history they are not likely to be aware of that.

  6. Heh, Thatcher running the country was a “disastrous attempt”. You might not like what she did. But she definitely did it, no “attempt” about it.

  7. “Arts” graduates: are you thinking of Major, Blair and Cameron? Hm, you must mean Superpremier Brown – just the ticket, wasn’t he?

  8. Major did n’t go to university,one of his plus points in my view.The only thing he had in common with Blair, according to Wikipedia, is that both worked for the London Electricity Board (which must be a spoof).Cameron’s education (not the Eton Bit) may be the saving of him).

  9. But since scientists still have no respect for history they are not likely to be aware of that.

    Speaking as an engineer with a very keen idea of history I take exception to your crude generalisations Mr Reed. I think you’ll also discover that many of the constitutional vandals of the last, unlamented government were definately of the arts camp and their acts displayed a decided lack of understanding of history.

  10. The Pedant-General

    “I believe that something people haven’t grasped about the support for the BNP is that it’s not just about race. It’s more about them representing something closer to old Labour values.”

    So can we stop with this ludicrous idea that the BNP are in any way “right wing” whatsoever?

  11. @TRM
    Not me making the crude generalisations : it was dearieme denigrating Media Studies and privileging Physics.I was just putting the other side.
    Although if you want an argument, I cannot see that Physics is any use at all as preparation for work involving the organisation of people.Not a disadvantage; just not an advantage.
    You may have a good knowledge of history :Thatcher did n’t and admitted it was a matter of regret.
    Mind you ,you definitely can’t spell.

  12. Mind you , [sic] you definitely can’t spell.

    Twentie yeres agoh I culdunt evun spel enjunear, now I are wun.

    As for your statement that an education in physics is no use as preparation for work involving the organisation of people, I’d say most formal education fails on that point, even engineering.

    That being said, thanks to my degree, within three months of graduation I was judged (by a government examiner) sufficiently trained and experienced to take charge of 100 men engaged in blasting and mining operations underground. Their productivity and (more importantly) their lives became entirely my responsibility.

    How many artists would you give that responsibility so soon after graduation?

  13. @TRM
    You are contradicting yourself :first you say” most formal education fails on that point,even engineering” then you claim in certain situations only engineering qualifications suffice.
    To tell you the truth, I would n’t have been happy doing a dangerous underground job under the day-to-day control of somebody fresh out of college.

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