Inequality, British-Style

Well, at least we’re not the only ones:

The gap in educational success between rich and poor areas of Britain is widening, despite investment of millions of pounds each year, according to research published today.

A day before Lord Mandelson, the Universities Secretary, outlines the Government’s strategy for increasing social mobility through wider access to further and higher education, a report by the University and College Union (UCU) shows that the gulf between rich and poor areas in the numbers completing a degree has widened over four years.

In some parliamentary constituencies, almost two thirds of the working-age population are graduates while in others fewer than one person in ten has a degree or equivalent qualification. Across Britain 29 per cent now have a degree but more than 12 per cent have no qualifications, according to the report.

Yup, sounds familiar. And just as is the case here, it’s getting easier for some and harder for others:

In the 20 constituencies with the largest numbers going to university, the proportion of the working-age population with a degree-level qualification increased from 48.8 per cent in 2005 to 57.2 per cent in 2008. But the 20 constituencies with the lowest level of participation in higher education saw a decline from 12.6 per cent to 12.1 per cent.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.