In a move which suggests he's now the boss of pretty much everyone, Peter Mandelson has outlined a new education policy - one which discriminates against people with reasonable lives. Yes, it may soon be Government policy to artifically boost the grades of students from poorer and working class backgrounds, to ensure that universities have a proper spread across the social spectrum. Never mind ability, talent or commitment; the most important things you may soon need to get into university are a father with a flat cap and a charlady for a mother.
Also, this policy is further proof - as if we needed any more - that Labour has failed to level the educational playing field as they said they would. If there weren't still shithole areas with awful schools then this policy wouldn't be necessary. As sorry as I am for pupils with little choice but to attend those schools, and as unacceptable as it is for such schools to still exist, an additional wrong of fiddling the system in this fashion is just not acceptable. It's unfair to those it disadvantages, and patronising to those it is supposed to benefit. Furthermore, aren't Oxford and Cambridge going to be delighted to have students who have just scraped Cs trying to get to grips with their incredibly challenging courses? They'd have to lower their academic standards, which would then bring down the reputation of said universities - and others.
The BBC - in Pravda mode - boasts that: "Campaigners have welcomed an idea to give poorer students a two grade 'head start' to help them get places at the leading universities". The campaign group in question is Million+ which, as you can see, is a think tank/pressure group with a membership comprised of former polytechnics and new universities. In other words, a hotbed of trendy lefty thinking agrees with a policy right out of the Soviet playbook.
This policy is an absolute disaster waiting to happen. It shows how spectacularly Labour's educational reforms have failed, and that they're now resorting to desperate tactics to further their social engineering goals. It will undermine the educational standards of our best universities, cheapen their degrees, and will piss off an awful lot of people in the process.
Update - some excellent thoughts on this from Constantly Furious.
Saturday Seven Up
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