Αυτό που εντυπωσιάζει είναι η τεκμηρίωση της πλήρους αποτυχίας συρρίκνωσης των κοινωνικών ανισοτήτων μέσω της εκπαίδευσης, παρά τις προσπάθειες χρόνων. Φαίνεται ότι η παροχή επιλογών στους 18ρηδες θεωρείται και στην Αγγλία ως η μόνη δυνατότητα μείωσης των κοινωνικών ανισοτήτων. Γίνεται και εκεί επί τέλους αντιληπτό ότι η ελευθερία επιλογής είναι προτιμότερη από την ισοπεδωτική ομοιομορφία.
Radical proposals to give every 18-year-old a £5,000 voucher to spend as they wish on their training or higher education are proposed in a highly critical report published today into Britain's professional "closed shop".
The report by an all-party panel chaired by the former cabinet minister Alan Milburn paints a damning portrayal of a country in which family wealth, private education and privileged access to university remain the key to well-paid professions.
It finds that although only 7% of the population attend independent schools, well over half the members of the professions have done so. For example, 75% of judges, 70% of finance directors, 45% of top civil servants and 32% of MPs were privately educated.
The report says one in six parents cannot get their children into a decent school, leading it to conclude: "The problem is not a shortage of parental aspiration. It is a shortage of good schools."
The typical doctor or lawyer of the future will today be growing up in a family that is better off than five in six of all families in the UK. The typical journalist or accountant of the future, meanwhile, will today be growing up in a family that is better off than three in four of all families in the UK. Similarly, the typical engineer or teacher of tomorrow will now be growing up in a family that is better off than two in three of all families in the UK.
In recommendations that are likely to lead to accusations of "dumbing down", the report proposes university admissions policies take account of the social background of applicants when looking at examination results. It says there is no evidence that such admissions criteria leads to worse results.
The report proposes a revolution in training by giving learners a £5,000 lifelong individual budget, topped up by employers, which could be redeemed for apprenticeships, professional qualifications or part-time further and higher education. The aim would be to set up a truly demand-led training system in Britain.
The report was welcomed by Labour and Conservatives.