Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Open up Oxbridge? Why not close it down?

There seems to a growing tide of opinion in favour of granting more egalitarian entry to those bastions of educational privilege, Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The latest person to throw his weight behind the idea is the historian, David Kynaston, who's written some interesting books on Britain in the period after Workd War II.

These well-meaning individuals recognise that large swathes of the political, financial and media elite are Oxbridge educated and know that it's virtually impossible for ordinary folk to get there. Their misguided solution is to 'open up' the elitist university colleges to the masses through quotas. I say misguided because this obsession with Oxford and Cambridge perpetuates the idea that they are the only places where it's possible to get a decent education and entrenches the very privilege that we're seeking to eliminate. Much better, imho, to reconstruct these antiquated institutions entirely or set a quota for the number of Oxbridge graduates that an employer can take on.

I suspect the only reason this is never suggested by the critics is that they too are products of the very system they criticise.

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