Letter: Segregation polarised

July 6, 2001

Andy Green and John Preston (Opinion, THES , June 22) say education is seen by the European Union and the Department for Education and Skills as a means of creating social cohesion. Their Centre for the Wider Benefits of Learning seeks evidence for this in the form of "enhanced social capital" so the DFES can present it to the Treasury to show money is well spent on education.

Unfortunately, the policies of marketisation advocated by No 11 Downing Street are not increasing social cohesion. Applied to what was already arguably the most academically elite system of education in the world, these policies are contributing to polarising social segregation based on educational certification at every level.

Perhaps it is evidence of this the centre should present to its paymasters rather than chasing will-o-the-wisp concepts such as "social capital" to cover it up.

Patrick Ainley
University of Greenwich

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