Katie Hopkins believes that universities who offer disadvantaged students lower grade offers are being biased and anti-meritocratic. This is from the Huffington Post…
Over the next week, hundreds of aspiring Oxford and Cambridge University students will be submitting their UCAS applications. Their personal statements are hewn from thirteen years of hard work.
Understanding the significant value of a degree from these unique universities, everything hinges on the fairness of the admissions process. As a parent I would hope this would be meritocratic; based entirely on results, or assessment and performance at interview.
But this is not the case. Many institutions such as Durham have admitted making lower grade offers to pupils from poorer schools. The government’s access watchdog obliges universities to set targets for state school pupils as a trade off for charging £9,000 tuition fees a year.
This has been an expensive price to pay. As the headmaster of Wellington College, Dr Seldon rightly points out this has created a bias against privately educated students. He calls it a “hatred that dare not speak its name”.
Students with lower grades from poorer backgrounds leapfrog the admissions process and ideals of meritocracy – grabbing places with low grades ahead of those with an excellent academic record and results.
A decade ago, this type of behaviour led to a boycott of Bristol University by the private school sector. Its admissions systems was recruiting with a bias in favour of the state sector, penalising private school students for their efforts and achievements.
In 2012, Cambridge took its largest share of state sector students for 30 years – these pupils representing 63% of the intake. In a perverse twist of modern British thinking towards higher education, target driven admissions are as a measure of success.
This type of attitude is at the very essence of misguided social mobility policy – addressing the symptoms of poor education not the causes. Like some gruesome modern day Dr Frankenstein, Les Ebdon is effectively looking to meddle with the health plan of the patient after they have been moved to the mortuary…
Admissions policy must be based on merit alone. Universities should remain centres of academic excellence. If you fail to meet the grade, you do not get in.
Does @KTHopkins make a valid argument or are universities right to look for potential as well as attainment? Please share in the comments or on twitter…