The educational under-performance of Britain’s white working-class males is “desperate”. Less then 10% of white boys from deprived backgrounds go to university, the lowest share of any demographic group. Boys lag behind girls at all stages of schooling – in few other areas, says the Higher Education Policy Institute, is there “such a big gender gap but so few proposals to remedy it”. Where white working-class boys are concerned, one thing is paramount: to bring degree courses closer to their social context and aspirations. Investing more money in the further education colleges and technical courses that have been allowed to wither should be the Government’s urgent priority. (Miranda Green, Financial Times and The Week 11 January 2020)
My take: Years ago the British government made a really stupid decision (so what’s new?) They allowed technical colleges and polytechnics to call themselves “universities”. At one point, Oxford Polytechnic was arguable harder to get into than the big university down the road. So, instead of only offering practical and training, these new universities became more and more academic, leaving the young lads with fewer training-for-life opportunities.
Secondly, in the old days the way to get on in life was to join a big company as apprentices and be trained on the job over a period of years. The pay was not great, but there was a reliable future ahead for young lads. This is what the Germans did and still do, amazingly effectively. This more or less disappeared in England. I strongly believe in education – the broadening and training of the mind – and in the arts as a means. But this is not necessarily appropriate for everyone and especially for non-academic lads good with their hands. The latter are now floundering, and it is the fault of governments.
Bring back apprenticeships!
The relevance to Epicureanism?: We should be offering opportunities to everyone whether from poor of well-off backgrounds. How can you achieve ataraxia when you feel you have no future?