Now call me an academic snob, which I am. I’ve been spending the last fortnight in the UK, and not just in the UK, but a part of the UK where the average person would struggle to tell you whether Galway is in Northern Ireland or the Republic. So instead of reading the Irish Times of a morning, I’ve been reading the Daily Telegraph. In the coffee room, we also get the Mail (no hyper link for them).
Britain, when not debating the morality of the war on Iraq, is getting its knickers in a tizzy over university admissions. Now I will declare an interest – my uber brainy, dead smart, brilliant at Maths, younger brother has just been offered a place at Cambridge to read Maths (he was second or something in the country in the Maths Olympiad last year – he’s good). Younger brother (YB) goes to an average, “bog standard” Christian Brothers school, and will be doing the Leaving Cert not A Levels.
Anyway, apparently Bristol university have been “discriminating” against students from the independent sector in favour of students from “average” state schools, allegedly because the government is offering more money to the colleges for students from certain post codes. This is an incredibly difficult issue to resolve in the context of the UK (I seem to recall reading something like 40,000 students in the UK last year got three A’s at A levels) thats more than the entire intake for Oxford, Cambridge and a couple of other universities put together (the fact that both Oxbridge universities average three applications for each place means that at least three times their combined annual intake expect to get three As). We need to have more faith in the university application system – do people in the UK really want to adopt the Irish system which means for the most popular places admissions would be decided by lottery?