Monday, October 23, 2006

Undergraduates are not the sum of their parents' earning

This morning's Times is running a story which I'm sure I saw last week somewhere about proposals to lower the entrance requirement for university courses in circumstances where the applicant is poor.

The argument, as any good Leftie will tell you, is that if you're from a poor family then you won't have access to books (or computers in today's world) like the rich kids will. Therefore you are less likely to acheive at school.

This argument is of course complete nonsense and problematic on a number of levels. Firstly it's based on the rather dodgy assumption that affluent parents are good parents who support their children. Conversely it also assumes that parents from less affluent backgrounds will be bad parents and not wish to support their children.

Secondly, the argument punishes children on the basis of hereditary values. In effect, two children of equal intellectual ability, but from differing backgrounds, are expected to achieve different levels of attainment simply because of the circumstance of their birth. How odd that such an argument would be promulgated by those who supposedly hold an ideological opposition to hereditary privilege.

Gaining access to University should be about academic attainment and perhaps, if the institution chooses, an interview. Lowering entry levels on the basis of someone's background does not create equality it actually extenuates difference. It says to prospective undergraduates, "you are not you, you are merely the sum of your parents' earnings".


The Daily Pundit said...

Well said. Get yourself back on Doughty street, large scotch before you go on, and wipe the floor with them.

Anonymous said...

Great minds Dizzy, I posted on this too. I also believe students should be admitted on their ability, they would be a fish out of water if they had not achieved the same academic excellence required.

ThunderDragon said...

I believe completely with you, Dizzy. Students should be admitted onto courses because of their own academic abilities. Changing the boundaries depending on social background is nothing short of class snobbery, and demeans the very people who they wish to help.

Average guy on the street said...

I have always believed that entry to uni should be based only on academic ability. It should not be based on class. Should we all not be able to achieve our full potential?