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Mahatma Gandhi once said:

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

93% of people can't be wrong?


For God’s sake what have you been up to? Do I have to supply you with a character reference yet again; thankfully I didn’t delete the last one I used, although putting it down to exam result euphoria may not suffice this time and the statement “of previous unblemished character” will need tweaking!

Personally I blame the rugby and communal bathing; it seems to lay down patterns of behaviour that keep reappearing throughout adult life. Still you did achieve the mission set out for you and I am grateful, although a public display of your tackling technique remains inappropriate!

Poor Aunty Gladys has not only had to recover from your shed antics but her stint at moderating has resulted in an expanded vocabulary, that although not short of a little colour and concise in its detail would cause havoc in her knitting circle! However am hoping that perhaps the shot of Tio Pepe will be sufficient to dull her powers of recall.

Your reference to Carole Cadwalladr’s article on Oxbridge admissions did not surprise me. The fact that:

“…..81 per cent of the judiciary went to Oxford or Cambridge, 82 per cent of all barristers, 45 per cent of 'leading' journalists, and 34 per cent of front-bench ministers and shadow ministers.”

does highlight an absence of meritocracy within academia and also reinforces the myth that these professions are represented by the cleverest people in our society. By any law of probability this cannot be the case, it is more likely to be the repeatedly referred to “poverty of aspiration” which has infected our society from education to politics and even in some areas of sport.

I don’t want to dumb down Oxbridge; the fact that it spawns highly successful individuals is exactly what you would want every university to do. I can also appreciate that an articulate and motivated young person capable of expressing themselves in a clear and consistent manner may pose a more attractive prospect than unharnessed raw talent, which will undoubtedly require extra nurturing.

The answer does require a change of attitude and the adoption of a more innovative approach by the ancient and prestigious universities, however it also requires a long, hard look at the education system that 93% of the country receives, that appears to encourage mediocrity and is shoring up the very system that it proclaims needs addressing.

We are all born equal; however some are more equal than others.

Poll x

PS don’t forget 4pm on BBC!