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Universities are not "engines for promoting social justice"

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10 09 08 - 15:27
Cambridge today will condemn attempts to force elite universities to recruit more pupils from state schools and disadvantaged backgrounds.

In a robust attack on government "meddling", Alison Richard, the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, will say that universities are not “engines for promoting social justice”.

Ministers have repeatedly called on elite universities to do more to attract students from poor backgrounds. Last night Professor Richard told The Times that the role of Cambridge was to educate and to lead research, not to "fix problems of social mobility".

She said: "We try to reach out to the best students, whatever their background. One outcome of that is that we can help to promote social mobility. But promoting social mobility is not our core mission. Our core mission is to provide an outstanding education within a research setting."

Intelligence is inherited. Not as simply as eye colour, but nevertheless it is genetic. After many years of social mobility, the most intelligent people from the poorer backgrouds have risen to become middle class, and as the genes for intelligence diminish amongst the working class and underclass, so social mobility inevitably slows. A truly intelligent student should not be discriminated against for their social class, but apart from that there should not be any enforced quota of underqualified students from deprived backgrounds. To take such a quota will only dumb down the standards of education at these elite universities. Likewise rich kids should not be allowed in just because their parents are paying for the privilege.

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"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

From William Shakespeare's "Macbeth"