Dumbing Up

Despite working in the Higher Education sector, I was never one of those who thought that universities were for everyone, or even a majority of people, which I believe is the situation in Britain today; and was especially dubious of the sleight of hand by which Margaret Thatcher enormously increased the number of university places simply by allowing existing polytechnics and other colleges to call themselves universities. That went down well because the title ‘university’ had always carried a certain cachet – less so now that they are so common, I imagine, and in particular following the gross devaluation of the ‘First-class’ degree in recent years. (That’s the market working: if you’re paying through the nose for your degree, you demand only the best.) But by the same token it also got the ex-polytechnics trying to ape the more traditional universities in every respect, so as to seem to merit their new status, rather than preserving and developing the unique modern features that had given them their raison d’etre before. I couldn’t see the value in that.

But I hadn’t reckoned on another effect. That is, apparently, to augment the number of Left-wing voters in British society. Apparently the more highly educated you are, the more likely to vote Labour, or at least Green or Liberal; and to have voted Remain in the last referendum. There’s an obvious lesson to be learned from that. One Daily Telegraph columnist, however, chose another. He used it as an argument for reducing university places again: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/29/left-will-continue-resurgence-long-many-go-university/. The message seems to be that if you want people to vote Tory, keep them ignorant. Well, it figures.

About bernardporter2013

Retired academic, author, historian.
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1 Response to Dumbing Up

  1. TJ says:

    The massive increase in university entry has ironically made Oxbridge and few other places even more exclusive and prestigious, that is until and unless they become postgraduate only with admissions in the hands of the departments. Fat chance!

    Liked by 1 person

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