"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by Dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become."
- Steve Jobs

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lower class kids and Uni places

All these articles are talking about how the gap is widening between rich and poor people attending Universities. And they all mention how Universities are being told to allow "poorer and lower class students" to attend Uni.




To quote:

"Teenagers from disadvantaged homes are less likely to achieve the top grades required by leading universities, and are also less likely to take the subjects needed to study on highly selective degree courses."

"Talented youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds are still failing to realise their potential, says the report. "

"Poorer youngsters are more likely to underperform in exams than their better-off counterparts, which means they might miss out on the grades needed for the most competitive courses. "

Firstly and most importantly - if your grades are shit and you are, essentially, stupid - then you should not go to Uni and waste a place suited to someone with a brain. If a "poor youngster underperforms in an exam" then they should not be handed a Uni place. If a "talented youngster from a disadvantaged background" is not realising his potential, then by all means give him guidance and encouragement but ultimately, THEY are the only ones who can push themselves forward and achieve the grades and performance needed for a Uni place. Then THEY must maintain that high standard in order to get their degree. If they have a marvellous brain but choose to bum around and do feck all with their lives, then surely it's their decision and they should still not be handed a Uni place or forced against their lazy will, to go to Uni?

"The report found that one of the main reasons many poor students are not attending top universities is because of their exam grades." - well, yes.......so??? Isn't that what it's all about? Do well - climb up the education ladder. DO shit, don't climb up the ladder. Why should someone with poor grades go to Uni???? What is this culture of forcing EVERY schoolkid to go to Uni? My grades were poor and I have no A levels and I knew all along I didn't want to go to Uni, I would resent being forced to go or being made to feel inadequate for not going.

Not everyone is suited to a degree education. One of my exes was a stoner who spent his late teens and early twenties bumming off work and lying around at home. He had no interest at all in Uni and would have resisted strongly if he was forced to attend. His grammar was terrible, his spelling lousy, his grades poor. Some years later he has his own successful business fitting satellite systems and is about to buy his second property. Not getting a degree didn't do him any harm, and he was more suited to doing electronics wiring manual stuff than he was writing a thesis. He learned it all on the job and not by reading books. My grades were average, my school reports always said "must try harder", "has the potential but doesn't try". Decades later I'm doing OK despite having no Uni education.

This culture of "everyone MUST go to Uni" needs to stop. The graduate job market is still overcrowded. It's not at all elitist to admit that richer people may just well be better suited to Uni, simply because their upbringing may mean they have the intelligence to perform well and gain good entrance grades.

A feral council estate teen who has been dragged up by alcoholic parents is far less likely to perform to a high standard. But similarly, a rich kid with an attitude and an apathy problem will also NOT be pushed into a Uni place. I think the buck stops with the individual. If you really want it bad enough, you will work hard, try hard, and reap the rewards, whatever your background. The aforementioned feral teen may have alcoholic parents but if he recognises his ability and has a burning desire to succeed, then he will go for it. Adult guidance can help yes, but taking someone with lousy grades and no real promise and trying to get them into Uni is just wrong.

Parents have to stop thinking their kid HAS to have a degree in order to go forward in life. Yes there are instances where a career choice requires a degree, but ultimately if your exam grades aren't good enough, tough. Re-sit the exams, try harder, if you still fail, tough - time for a career re-think.