Thursday, 15 March 2012

Oh, for Dux sake!

The government has finally realised that their decision to scrap AimHigher is likely to mean that fewer pupils will be pushed towards university so they have created their own scheme.  This was reported in the Telegraph:

The message is that:
"The brightest pupils from every state school in England will be fast-tracked towards elite universities as part of a new drive to reward talented teenagers."


Hang on, look at the details of the scheme . . .

Each school will be required to nominate ONE 13 to 14 year old student who will 'win' a visit to a Russell group university.  No, not a place - a visit.  Furthermore these champions will be awarded the name of 'Dux'.

Now I am all in favour of encouraging and supporting young people to go to university and for them to see that the Russell Group is achievable for them but what does this scheme actually say?

Firstly, The Russell Group is not for everyone, it is only available to the brightest person in your school; the rest of you are just Duds.

Secondly, calling the chosen student a Dux will not mean much to most 13 or 14 years olds in state education - the intended target - and will further distance them from the goal of a Russell Group university.  "I don't know what Dux means so this probably isn't for me"  The use of this term will alienate the very people it is aimed at; it is pretentious nonsense.

This scheme is elitist, tokenistic and pretentious.  I really did have to check that it wasn't 1st April when I read the article.

If we are serious about getting young people to go to the best universities we need to encourage all to AimHigher.