"Education. Education. Education." This was the cornerstone of New Labour, a platform for unprecedented levels of social mobility, which helped prepare the way for Tony Blair's landslide victory in the 1997 general election. So why are we still in a situation where 83% of Oxbridge students are from only 400 elite schools? The answer is complex.
I recall memorising the timeline of human prehistory when I was twelve - Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic - from the fresh first pages of my history textbook. It was past midnight, and their quirky names numbed my tongue and befuddled my brain. Nevertheless, I forcibly committed them to memory, motivated by the promise that hard work at school will one day pay off...
Recently the National Union of Students (NUS) released their pre-general election campaign for 2015, a tradition that is supposed to mobilise the youth vote and champion student politics on a national stage - however this year's campaign is less remarkable for the promotion of student involvement in the democratic process and more for partisan alienation of those who don't subscribe to a very specific ideology.
If there is one thing I have learned from my degree (Archaeology and Anthropology) it is that no one ever fits an 'ideal' type such as the 'hyper-social student' that the media presents. And so, instead of creating a breeding ground for social anxiety and even a damaging retreat into isolation, perhaps we could take a bit more time to do or see things a bit more inclusively.
As a university undergraduate, I'm hopefully poorer than I shall ever be again. Actually, that's probably a lie. But negative job and property-ladder prospects aside, as a student, isn't it my prerogative to lament my current financial situation? And is it not, therefore, permitted to be as socially irresponsible as I see fit?
On 8 April, Tim Wise gave a lecture at Loyola University New Orleans. The talk was called "Don't Call Me A Racist" and focused on anti-racism and white privilege. Wise is an American anti-racism activist and writer who lectured at over 600 college campuses. One of my tutors advised that our class attend the lecture...
With traditional education locking out the majority of the world's population it is clear that online learning has a huge role to play. Especially given the obvious fact that it is impossible for all young people in Asia and Africa to travel to North America and Europe to experience higher education.