The New College For The Hubristic

AC Grayling’s founding of the unashamedly elitist institution the New College Of the Humanities with annual fees of £18,000 a year raises a few interesting questions about educational privilege.

Only 7% of the UK population attends private fee paying schools, yet they represent 45% of the Oxbridge intake. A private school student is 55 times more likely to be admitted than a student on free school meals.

In 2010, one student of Caribbean descent was admitted to Oxbridge, while there were over 200 applications from black students.

Is this because;

  1. Expensive private education is 55 times better than public education?
  2. White children of the rich are genetically 55 times more intellectually gifted than children on free school meals? And tens of thousands more gifted than black students!
  3. Private education educates students in a range of class-based normative cultural behaviours (accent, manners, clothes, vocabulary etc) that are highly regarded by those controlling entry to Oxbridge?

If it is 1./ then what justifies only the children of the wealthy having access to this high quality education?

If you think it’s 2./ I’d like to hear your arguments! Because this sort of eugenicist elitism is associated with the worst forms of racist, fascism and has been thoroughly discredited by the social sciences.

If it is 3./ then perhaps we need to be challenging the whole relationship between economic class and intellectual elitism.

About I Am Not A Number

I Am Not A Number is written by Chris Jury. For 30 years Chris Jury was a TV actor, director and writer best known for playing Eric Catchpole in over 60 episodes of the BBC’s antique classic, Lovejoy, and for directing over 50 episodes of Eastenders. In 2008 he was appointed as the Senior Lecturer in Recorded Media in the School Of Music & Performing Arts at Bath Spa University. He currently presents, Agitpop, a pop & politics radio discussion programme on North Cotswold Community Radio He is currently the Communications Officer for UCU at Bath Spa University and a UCU SW Regional Rep at SWTUC.
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9 Responses to The New College For The Hubristic

  1. moelarrythecheese says:

    or 4./ Maybe only 1 of the 200 black students could pass the entrance exams?
    In a way this reminds me of what has been happening to many US universities like Berkeley, for example, only in a kind of opposite manner. Berkeley was faced with a dilemma. If they admitted students only based on their scholastic qualifications then virtually all of the students at Berkeley would be Orientals, with a large percentage of them from foreign countries. If I recall correctly I believe that Berkeley decided to impose some kind of quota system so that there would be an ethnically diverse student population. Was this ruling fair to the Oriental students who were denied admission even though they possessed scholastic qualifications superior to many of those of other races who were admitted in their place?

    • Well, yes, possibly. The question remains why could only one of the black students pass the exam? I refer you to my three questions.

      As to the ruling at Berkely re: students from S.E. Asia it is indeed an interesting question. In the US the University system receives more public subsidy from tax payers than in the UK. Ye the elite institutions are free to recruit foreign students who pay double the fees for US Citizens. In a Globalised University education system it raises the question of whether you are happy that your hard-earned cash supports the education of elite students from S.E. Asia? (Because without the subsidised State Universities Harvard & Berkeley wouldn’t be able to cherry-pick the best students – they are imter-dependent on the system).

      Perhaps a state controlled disciplinarian, learning by rote, High School education system like Korea or China is something you would like to see in the US? It appears to get exam results. One would be interested to gauge the students critical abilities?

  2. moelarrythecheese says:

    Why do Oriental students do better academically than other ethnicities? A Scientific American article published a few years ago explained their secret of success. It’s their culture. The education of the children is a serious family effort. When children do their homework at night it’s not uncommon that their parents will be right there with them, helping. Also, Oriental students are very disciplined compared with other cultures. It is important to them that they honor their parents by excelling in school. Excelling in school is the top priority in their culture whereas it isn’t in so many others – like in the US.

    • Well, yes. The question is would you prefer it that way? In Korea a university recently introduced fee discounts for A * students. It resulted in 4 student suicides! 4 young people who killed themselves because they didn’t hit a fecking University grade. It is literally tragic.

      For teenagers s. Asian culture is a despotic nightmare. China & Japan are cultures of deference and conformity on a scale that is almost Orwellian.

      It all depends on whether you see education as teaching people ‘to do what they are told’ or teaching them to ‘think for themselves’ and become free citizens able to enter into global conversations like ours.

  3. moelarrythecheese says:

    I see your point. Those Korean students must be stressed to the point of going bonkers. Thank goodness I’m not one of them. All that stress would stress me out!

  4. moelarrythecheese says:

    Check out this USA Today article about paying students for getting good grades:
    It ties-in, somewhat, to the Jakarta Globe article (mentioned in your earlier post) in regard to being financially rewarded for scholastic performance.

  5. moelarrythecheese says:

    By the way, do you and AC Grayling go to the same barber? just curious

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