The free and non-religious education for all children.

The promises and perils of modern education.This chapter will look at the promises and perils of modern education. Education has come a long way since 1869 when the national education league began its campaign for compulsory, free and non-religious education for all children. One of the key ideas when looking at the promises of modern education is meritocracy. Meritocracy is a term used to describe a social system or society in which each individual’s success and achievements are measured through their efforts in life. This means that it is beleived that an individuals position in society is equal to the amount of work they have put in. This also means that for people who are a failure in life are supposedly responsible for their own failure and have only themselves to blame, and the idea of somebody being down on their luck is not something widely believed by the meritocratic society. The idea of a meritocratic society is generally thought to be a great way to live because a meritocratic society is fair as any individual has the potential of being successful. This chapter will really look at the meritocratic society and it’s link to education.A meritocratic society is what a lot of politicians today agree that we should works towards, and believe that this is the way that we should live. Where the rewards of life are distributed according to individual achievements rather than an aristocratic society where wealth, position and privilege are received because of an individuals family background or connections and people are rewarded for nothing more than who they are, rather than what they have done to contribute to society. The idea of meritocracy is responsible for certain things like free education, positive discrimination and trying to end nepotism in business and government. This is because meritocracy is all about equality and closing the gap between social classes. In education this means making education easily accessible for everyone and making all opportunities equally available to everyone as certain opportunities shouldn’t just be for people who have money or more connections. Although there has been research to show that this isn’t how society is today and that money and family background has a lot to do with the jobs that people end up with in the future. The next part of this chapter will explore the issues with the meritocratic society and also whether or not we live in a meritocratic society and certain factors that may answer this question. There are plenty of things that go on in our society that suggest even though we want to work towards a meritocratic society that we just aren’t there yet. A lot of private schools and universities are dominated by children from families from the top social classes. An article was written which talked about how some of the top universities in the UK such as oxford and Cambridge are failing to diversify their statistics and the amount of students that attend their universities that come from the top two social classes is over 80%. This shows that there is quite a gap between social classes and that in education the top places aren’t available to everyone and that you need money to come out on top, or that at least it is extremely hard for somebody of a low income or low social class family to make it into high-end university’s and high-end jobs. It is even said in the documentary ‘who gets the top jobs’ by a healthcare professional Dr Sarah Pearce the founder of the William Harvey project, that the health care sector produces generations of doctors from the same families as it is much easier to become a doctor if you know a doctor, which people from lower class families are unlikely too. The BBC reporter who made this documentary Richard Bilton also spends time with an unpaid intern at one of the top PR companies for the fashion industry. The interns must work for free for three months and still only a handful get a job at the end. So for people who aren’t able to support themselves for three months without pay, a job in the fashion industry is out of reach. Theresa May’s speech in 2016 called ‘Britain, the great meritocracy” talks about her vision of Britain becoming a great meritocracy. She talks about many different topics in this speech including her vision for Britain, schools that work for everyone, school capacity, universities, faith schools, independent school, selective schools and the great meritocracy. She wants a country that works for everyone, and one that will not be driven by the privileged but by the ordinary working class people. After she sets out her view of Britain as the great meritocracy she aims to move towards, she moves onto education. She talks about how since 2010 there are 1.4 million more children in schools that Ofsted rated good or outstanding, but 1.25 million children are still attending schools that were rated inadequate or required improvements and that for too many children, a good school is out of reach. She says that she wants us to be a meritocratic society but for education we also need to change our philosophy and approach as currently the education system only works if you’re well off and buy your way through your education. 

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