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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

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More change has occurred in the universities than in the schools;
the latter have in very considerable measure been thrown open to the
less well-to-do. But the channel of approach to them is through a
highly competitive scholarship system, and is both over-intellectual
and over-specialized, with the result that the average of the young
men and women who reach the university on merit instead of on
money, are, in the view of many of those responsible for them during
their undergraduate career, in many ways far below the standard to
be expected of an elite—in all-round character and interests, in in-
tellectual initiative, and even in general education.
This can be partly remedied by amending the method of selection—
by reducing the almost ludicrously high specialist standards demanded
of candidates for scholarships, by laying more stress on general know-
ledge and varied interests, and by adding other criteria of selection to
the examination tests. In part, however, this state of affairs is the
result of unsuitable background, and here the universities are de-
pendent on the schools. The remedy is, surely, not to talk about
abolishing the public schools or keeping those in difficulties alive by
a bare minimum of State intervention, but to bring the public schools
into the sphere of the national system, and to use them as training
grounds for a certain type of elite (a functional £lite based on merit
and ability instead of a class 61ite based on property and privilege) for
whom the corporate spirit of residential education is considered
This should help toward providing both background and backbone
for the potential university student of poor family, who is now forced
to overwork and over-specialize at the expense of health, character,
and all-round interests. But the public school need not and certainly
should not be the only channel of approach to the universities. No
bar should be laid on candidates from the other secondary schools. A
thorough overhaul of technical education is also required. It has been
suggested in various quarters that types of technical school should be
multiplied—that, for instance, building and agriculture, as well as
industry and art, should be catered for. What is more important is
that the whole status and prestige of the technical school should be
raised, and the quality of the general educational background which
it provides should be improved. There will then be a number of co-
ordinate and equal channels of secondary-stage education.
There is further general agreement that education of some sort should
be universal up to 18 for those not taking a whole-time secondary educa-
tion. The precise form of this requires to be worked out, but the
facilities provided will, we may hope, be linked up with the various