The Big Debate is a regular Badgerfeature which brings the spirit of competitive debating to the printed page. Two writers tackle a contentious topic, representing polarised views. They might not agree with what they write – on this page, they represent a viewpoint, not an individual. This week, they discuss whether private schools should be abolished.
By Will Day – Staff Writer
“I want Britain to be a place where advantage is based on merit not privilege” – Inspiring yet utterly hollow words from Theresa May in her 2016 speech “Britain, the great meritocracy”. I’d love to have seen the briefing for this speech. “Right Theresa, I know we’re doing nothing to act on what you’re about to say but I promise if you stare into the camera, they will believe you” (See the
A society based on meritocracy would mean that it is solely hard work and ability that brings success (social class bares no advantage) I expect that those who believe that Britain is a Meritocracy also believe in the tooth fairy. Yes, I know Alan Sugar and Susan Boyle did it but let’s not pretend it’s the norm. For every SuBo there are thousands who can’t achieve their goals, stuck in a failing education system which is so desperately underfunded that many schools can’t afford to teach for a full five days. We live in a nation where the privileged have always had a clear advantage. To truly level the playing field, we must begin by making fundamental changes to our education system.
One in sixteen pupils
Just 7% of the country
permanent secretaries and 52% of Foreign Office diplomats come from a private school background.”
Redmayne, Damian Lewis, just a few who have attended the college.
This overrepresentation makes the notion that Britain is a meritocracy laughable.
than their privately educated peers.
A top private education provides more than just grades, you gain a sense of entitlement, a mind-set that you are better than the rest, you are the right candidate. Besides, there’s always the CEO position at Daddy’s company if things go tits up.
To see the benefits of abolishing private education we need
Not all those privately educated are bad people, most of them are perfectly palatable, some of them might even acknowledge their own privilege. Yet, these institutions do have a tendency to churn out an exceptional volume of megalomaniac narcissists. The kind of narcissist who goes on Question
Time attacking diversity in a shameless attempt to stay relevant as their singing and acting careers fail (Laurence Fox). The kind of narcissist so desperate to cling onto
By Bogdan Gherasim
We have come to live in a society where so-called ‘equality’ has become a reason to evade our destiny. Ideas of an ‘equal society’ means that if someone has the privilege to have a better education, to a broader range of opportunities, to a better job, then that means inequality, discrimination, and even injustice. Nowadays, the concept of ‘equality’ has become so exaggerated that it seeks to camouflage the fact that all human beings are unique, everyone has different values, strengths, background and purposes. Thus, we must have the chance to choose what is best for each of us.
The debate as to whether private schools are ethical has become increasingly intense in the last decades, even though private education is extremely important in society. For instance, in the United States, 25 percent of the nation’s schools are private with approximately 10 percent of all students attending them. Likewise, in Germany, the percentage of parents who opted for private education in 2016 exceeded 9 per cent.
State schools were created to educate the masses, in a raw fashion. The need for better education and the emergence of different specializations led to the foundation of further private schools. This occurred in democratic, modern nations in order to develop society and to provide a broader range of possibilities. Since then, the private school is positioned as being of better quality than the public option, an improvement to the quality of education for the nation.
Everywhere in the world, private schools produce intellectuals, scholars, leaders and so forth. But because a society cannot be made up of only intellectuals, high-quality education has always been made very expensive and much harder to reach. And anyway, handicrafts and trades are also fundamental to society.
Many private school systems offer a unique alternative as non-traditional pedagogies, such as the Waldorf Pedagogy, Montessori, or Step-by-Step. These schools provide a broader perspective of life. The children, who are raised in such pedagogies, learn various disciplines in a more nuanced form than in the public systems.
Being Waldorf-raised myself, I can acknowledge the importance of such alternative private school systems for the development of the individual and for the society as a whole. The teachers emphasize the importance of intellect, as well as the spirit and soul. The development of every component of a human being is essential for his fulfillment and for a harmonious
But this is the purpose anyway… It is perfectly natural to have different approaches to education for different types of people. So, what if you cannot afford a private education for your child? Everything happens for a reason, and everyone has
My argument is that, why would we want to live in communism, where there is no private school system at all? Perhaps, that would be a great place for those who fight for absolute ‘equality’ and think that they are treated unfairly by society because they have to work harder to achieve what others have by destiny. But just because some people cannot afford or benefit from something doesn’t make it wrong. There should be different kinds of opportunities for different types of people. Some families have more benefits than others, some have to work harder to achieve success, and that is how it has always been from the beginnings of humanity.
I heard that if you want to become a lawyer, a doctor or a political figure, and you don’t have the opportunity to attend a high-quality private school, then you are doomed to fail. This is, in my opinion, the excuse of lazy people, which are better at making judgments than at working towards their dreams. As Dale Carnegie said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all”.
It doesn’t matter at all what your background is, it matters what you actually do to reach your dream. Stop complaining that you were not born into a family that cannot afford private schooling, and instead, think about what kind of education you will be able to provide your own children and start working on that.
Not all of us should be able to afford
Image credit: Unknown – found at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eton_XI_in_1866.jpg