There are two possible solutions. The first is obvious: reforming (and refunding) the state-run schooling system so that it can compete realistically with the independent sector - a remedy that the Treasury has neither the political will nor perhaps the imagination to attempt. The second is the fake: fixing the statistics - forcing the universities to take an even larger number of working-class candidates so that the nation's education deficit - the huge potential our state schools squander every year - does not look quite as disastrous as it really is. This, of course, is as cynical as it is meretricious: fiddling the accounts, Enron-style, to make a bankrupt business look as though it works.I don't think that either of these "solutions" will do. What is needed is to get the state out of the education business altogether. State education is an oxymoron.
Sunday, 9 March 2003
There is an alternative
John Adamson, a Cambridge academic, writes about the government-mandated dumbing-down of his university. Rightly, he is angry. Like others, he observes that the biggest problem is the underperformance of the state school system. Does he have a solution?