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Educating All Programme Response

Educating All Programme Response

The issue of social class has been relevant in society for hundreds of years and this has not changed. However the way in which the issues of social class has manifest themselves in society have evolved in conjunction with the progression of society.  Thus the article opens up an important dialogue regarding how the issue of class can have a profound  impact on students from a lower socio economic background. Since becoming a social sciences student at The University of Manchester I have been introduced to numerous sociological theorists such as Bourdieu. I found a concept of his particularly relevant to the article, this being the notion of habitus which relates to the fact that people adopt various attitudes and speech patterns based on the social space in which they occupy.  This leads onto the issue that if the majority of the students at a university come from a higher socio economic background than another, this can be evident without the student mentioning the fact. This can be very discouraging for a less advantaged student. The article reflected this from the list of numerous statistics stating the fact that those from lower socio economic backgrounds are 5.3% less likely to graduate than their peers and 3.7% less likely to graduate with a first or 2:1 than their peers. The article listed what I believe to be positive solutions to the issue: most specifically the alumni mentoring scheme. This seemed like a viable solution as it seems plausible that those of a more similar background will be able to identify and understand the issues of the student. Additionally if they have graduated from university they could provide advice and support to students on how they overcame various issues the student may face. An additional benefit to this scheme includes the fact that students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to have family members that have attended university than those of a more advantaged background. Consequently if attendance of university is unfamiliar territory in the background of a person this could result in lack of guidance and support in comparison to their peers. The alumni scheme could potentially provide this. Another solution with the most merit in my opinion was the suggestion of an internship scheme for those of low socio economic backgrounds. This seemed to be a particularly useful suggestion as in the working world, students of less advantaged backgrounds do not benefit from nepotism unlike many of their peers.

Furthermore a lot of the suggestions seemed very staff based which was understandable as it is often difficult to get directly involved in tackling issues such as these. However it could be beneficial to at least make students more aware of issues relating to class. Another suggestion in response to the article would be to ensure the job roles have specific aims and objectives as some of the titles seemed a little vague. For instance the working class diversity officer, this could be possibly very beneficial . However having heard a story of someone from another university with a similar role suggesting that a student lives off orange juice and baked beans in order to avoid spending money it came to my attention that such roles would need to be regulated. The article did not imply this but nonetheless it is important that precautions are taken to avoid such suggestions.

Hazel Hoodless

Studying Fine Art at Manchester School of Art.

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