Make all Universities equal?
By Jim Scott
As Cambridge University is set to give "poorer" students who fail entry requirements, a chance to study at its world-class university. Is it time, all university institutions treat entry requirements the same?
The Independent reports that the university need to "dispel facile stereotypes of Cambridge as a bastion of privilege" and that the university could not class itself as "truly great" if it was no longer open to different cultures and people from both rich and poor backgrounds, including academic ability. It will apparently cost £500 million to implement the scheme.
Whilst there is no direct link between people from poor backgrounds and bad grades, as the Telegraph reports. Children who grew up in a state of poverty, could do "less well in education" because their parents are more stressed and therefore less able to help with educational activities such as homework. But the rise of "unconditional offers" sent by some UK institutions has been credited to help "low-performing" students a chance to start university, where grades may have shut the "educational door".
But not everyone has welcomed such plans to make gaining a degree easier. Chris Ramsey, head of Whitgift School in London said universities were admitting students who had gotten A-level results, 5 grades below their original offer. And argued, universities could risk losing their integrity as school pupils learn "they do not really need to meet their offers" as they would be given a place "either way". Ramsey’s criticism comes, as other head teachers and university bosses call for an end of "unconditional offers" being handed to school leavers. Such offers allow an individual to progress to their first-year of university without having to achieve a set grade. Instead, they are selected for the course based on their merit and personality, CDBU explains.
One student told the BBC, being sent an unconditional offer helped her work harder in the final months of higher education. 18-year-old, Olivia Harris said: "When I got an email from the university I really wanted to go to with the offer, I actually fell off the seat on the bus I was so happy.
"Not only so happy and proud that they thought I was a good enough candidate, but also a tiny bit of relief to know I had the offer. I think some people use it and think: 'Oh I don't have to work hard', but I think it may have pushed me more than not having it. I wanted to prove the point to people that I deserve it.”
On Tuesday, October 16th, dozens of students in France were "up in arms" about government plans to raise entry requirements for university establishments in the country. Those protesting argued raising entry requirements would make it harder for those, less academic to gain a degree, Spiked reports.