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Institutional academic elitism?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
And, if it is; what's wrong with that?

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Academic elitism is a political scapegoat. Whenever something needs diverting, especially around slow news days in summer - the media and the government feel a need to beat upon the universities, the "elitist" attitudes of the gatekeepers, and so on.

The question is, what's wrong with it?

The elite of this country should be a meritocratically selected one. The best, wherever they come from, should be given the chance to study at the world's best universities. Let the former polytechnics revert to a new "politically correct" status, but not universities. Let us make universities, and degrees, an elitist experience. Let's not widen access to degrees; it only devalues those in existence.

For what, I ask you, is wrong with elitism? Why does it have negative connotations? For it just means the selection of the best. The top. The academically most gifted. Where are the negative aspects to that?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I agree. Those who work the hardest should be recognised. If they are cleverer, or harder working then they should be treated as such.
    What's the point in rewarding or recognising people who do fuck all?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What is wrong with that is where do you cut the line? Do you say to the student who got 3 c's and was a mark off b's no. I think there should be different boundaries for different subjects, which there are now.

    And I also think that people, no matter how clever, or otherwise should be given the opportunity to go to University, just for the experience.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sorry Kathryn but i disagree, before going to university I would of said the degree was the most important aspect, the rest a bonus, but now I see it as the other way around. The skills I've learned, experiences I've had, friends I've met, things I've tried and memories I've got are all of far more value to me than any qualification.

    I understand the reason for going to uni is to get the degree, but it doesn't mean the degree will be the most important aspect of the university experience.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I didn't get the grades I needed to get onto my course at Durham, but they let me in anyway because I was very very near. I got one of the highest first year set of marks, I handed in all my work on time, I did all the required reading and I revised really really hard. I therefore think I know what I have learned in depth.

    Other students on my course got higher grades at A level than they needed, barely passed their first year exams, handed essays in late, didn't do any extra work or reading, and didn't revise. Whats fair?

    I know I am only generalising, but you can't say that just because someone doesn't make the grade at A Level that they're going to be crap at degree level, because it depends how much work you do.(for me it was because my teachers didn't think I needed to do much work and I listened to them, wish I hadn't, grrr!)

    There are people in my college who've failed first year and I thought they were close to genius. It all depends how much work you do. That is just my opinion though.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    To make an elite, people have to be disappointed. If everyone is "elite", it demeans the standard of the elite, doesn't it?

    Make your line, and stand by it. I speak as someone who did scrape to be where I am. But I've done okay by it.

    University is about getting a degree. Anyone who says otherwise shouldn't be at university. If you go for social experience, then you're not deserving of a place. Simple. Go to College, a poly, whatever. But do not confuse that life experience with what should be a university degree. It demeans the value of the degree for those who are going there to work.

    (Kathryn's right, about everything but her failing, but let's not worry about that...)

    I'm going to take flak for this, I'm sure. Oh well.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I agree with DJP here.....

    *also stands up to be flamed*
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    DJP, I think you confuse education with intelligence: academic elitism is one thing when it's a question of potential, of which students are going to get the most out a degree, but quite another when it's simply bias against people who haven't had the same opportunities. 'the best' at 18 won't necessarily be the same people who will come on the most at uni and I'm not sure there's enough recognition of that in the admissions process.
    Also, there are other factors: whether the people who are going to teach you like you, your passion for the subject, your work ethic... clever people with lots of As might not actually be the best people to choose. Certainly simple academic achievement to date is a big factor but it's not the only thing.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by DJP

    University is about getting a degree. Anyone who says otherwise shouldn't be at university. If you go for social experience, then you're not deserving of a place. Simple. Go to College, a poly, whatever. But do not confuse that life experience with what should be a university degree. It demeans the value of the degree for those who are going there to work.


    Everyone goes to university to get a degree, thats obvious, but that again doesn't mean its the most important aspect of university on a personal basis.
    Originally posted by me
    The skills I've learned, experiences I've had, friends I've met, things I've tried and memories I've got are all of far more value to me than any qualification.



    I stand by that, a degree isn't everything in life, its handy, but there are far more important things. If university wasn't such a laugh then it would lose its appeal dramatically. I speak from the angle of someone who does go to uni to get a degree and intend to do the neccessary work to achieve it, but the experience needn't stop there. That is the beauty of university, you go have a wonderful time etc etc and get a degree into the bargain.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Polys don't exist anymore. As someone who went to a "traditional" uni, and is now going to an ex poly I think it's unfair to say that people who go to less well regarded universities are not going there to work. The cours e I am going to do does not exist at "proper" unis.

    Some things take the piss, courses which let people on with (eg) 8 UCAS poinnts are a joke. But there are very able people who do not necesarrily excel until they are doing something they enjoy.

    Sorry for any mistakes, I've moved house and have AOL and a crap keybiard. Can opnly see half the screem.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The problem with supporting elitism is that the elite are rarely selected on a meritocratic basis. Gender, social class and ethnicity can all play their part.

    Our education system still has a strong bias towards working class underachievement. Suggesting only the very best students should go to university does, for whatever reasons, mean the population of universities would be encouraged to consist of mostly middle and upper class students. To me elitism widens social divisions, and to encourage elitism is to fear not being at/near the top of the system.

    There is overwhelming evidence that emotional intelligence can take a person much further in life than academic intelligence can. Therefore experiences count far more than qualifications do. Certainly when I meet a person I'm more interested in the life experiences they've had than the letters after their name. I intend to go to university and experience everything, and meet new people, and get a degree along the way. Life is what you make of it. And if you want it to be an empty bunch of letters after your name then I think you're the one who's made less of life.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by furry_friend
    I intend to go to university and experience everything, and meet new people, and get a degree along the way. Life is what you make of it. And if you want it to be an empty bunch of letters after your name then I think you're the one who's made less of life.

    Yeah, exactly right.
    Originally posted by kathryn
    And, as for drawing the line, I see how tough it is using your example Jono H, but if we constantly bend the rules for people who were "almost there but not quite" standards will drop, and how can you decide who to, and who not to bend these rules for?

    Stanadards will drop?!! How does that one work? Say the person should have done really well at their A Levels but fecked up on exam day, or had Edexcel as an exam board :D and really deserved to go, and had worked hard all year. Are you saying that he/she shouldn't be allowed to go?
    Originally posted by DJP
    University is about getting a degree. Anyone who says otherwise shouldn't be at university. If you go for social experience, then you're not deserving of a place. Simple. Go to College, a poly, whatever. But do not confuse that life experience with what should be a university degree. It demeans the value of the degree for those who are going there to work.

    Wait, so if you go to University, you shouldn't have a social life? Which university did you pick? Are you saying that you didn't take into consideration things such as nightlife and things? If you didn't then you're one of the few. Yeah, people are going for the degree first and foremost but the social experience is also very important.

    And another thing, I'm going to Northumbria, even though I was conditionally accepted to do law at Leeds because the law course at Northumbria is better. Now, I am capable and probably will get the grades that Leeds offered me {AAB}, but wait, I'm choosing a former Polytchnic over a so called "traditional university". :eek: Shock Horror. Give poly's a fair go. they're not all hellholes and Northumbria for one does some very good courses.

    And can i just say something else that I noticed. All those that are in favour of the elitist system are from London. Coincidence? Me thinks not.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Jono_H
    Wait, so if you go to University, you shouldn't have a social life?

    He's not saying that at all. he's just saying that principally it should be a question of the degree. A social life naturally will follow whereever you go, though obviously if you're into clubbing then that'd be somethign to take into account.
    I don't really think there's any point in everyone's judging other people's reasons for their choice of uni. It's an entirely personal thing and naturally for different people there'll be different priorities.
    You're brave, by the way, to pick a former poly because of it's course, and I admire you for it. If more people did that rather than worrying about the impact of the name of their uni after they leave there'd be much less of a two-tier system.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Jono_H

    Stanadards will drop?!! How does that one work? Say the person should have done really well at their A Levels but fecked up on exam day, or had Edexcel as an exam board :D and really deserved to go, and had worked hard all year. Are you saying that he/she shouldn't be allowed to go?

    Yes. That's the nature of an exam. FYI, I do always mess up exams, relative to my course work and performance.

    Oh, and it might bring up "standards". ;)
    Originally posted by Jono_H
    Wait, so if you go to University, you shouldn't have a social life? Which university did you pick? Are you saying that you didn't take into consideration things such as nightlife and things? If you didn't then you're one of the few. Yeah, people are going for the degree first and foremost but the social experience is also very important.

    Not you shouldn't have a social life, but it shouldn't be a major consideration.

    Jesus College, University of Oxford

    No notice at all of social life.
    And another thing, I'm going to Northumbria, even though I was conditionally accepted to do law at Leeds because the law course at Northumbria is better. Now, I am capable and probably will get the grades that Leeds offered me {AAB}, but wait, I'm choosing a former Polytchnic over a so called "traditional university". :eek: Shock Horror. Give poly's a fair go. they're not all hellholes and Northumbria for one does some very good courses.

    If you say so. How much of your decision is based on social life and aspects of that?
    And can i just say something else that I noticed. All those that are in favour of the elitist system are from London. Coincidence? Me thinks not.

    Not true. I'm from Birmingham. Oops.



  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by DJP
    If you say so. How much of your decision is based on social life and aspects of that?

    There were a number of reasons why I chose Northumbria over Leeds.

    *The course is better, you come out after 4 years with the exempting degree from the soliciors LPC or barristers BAR Course.

    * Locality, Newcastle is closer to my home than Leeds is and so it will be easier to getnhome, should I need to.

    *There was a good feeling at Leeds, but Northumbria just felt right for me.

    And yes, social aspects are imprtant to me. I'm sorry if you're angered by that, but to say I have done no work is ludicrous. The last two years have been the worst two years of my life study wise and I think that the A Levels are the hardest thing that a person will ever do as the step from GCSE to AS Level is still massive, although the new system has tried to address this, with relative failure.
    Originally posted by Prufock
    You're brave, by the way, to pick a former poly because of it's course, and I admire you for it. If more people did that rather than worrying about the impact of the name of their uni after they leave there'd be much less of a two-tier system.

    Thank you and I agree.. :D
    Originally posted by Kathryn
    No, two of the three are from London, and it is a coincidence actually, there haven't been enough replies for you to assume it is anything else.

    Maybe, but I do think that this attitude tends to come more from the people in the south than that of people in the North. Perhaps because they have a higher standard of living or something.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't see why it is being brave. I am also going to an ex poly and don't see it as brave in the slightest. I treid a "proper" uni and it wasn't for me. The person is more important than the uni, you make what you want out of your opportunities. If a person of high intelligence and ambition wants to succeed, they will whether they go to Oxford Uni or an ex poly. Although admittedly things may come a "bit easier" for the Oxford person in the way of jobs etc, people make their own way through life.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Jono_H

    Maybe, but I do think that this attitude tends to come more from the people in the south than that of people in the North. Perhaps because they have a higher standard of living or something.

    Dude! :rolleyes:
    That has nohing to do with it at all! Don't bring standards of living into it, you can have a high standard of living for half the cost up here! :D
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