The Crisis of the Meritocracy: how popular demand – not politicians – made Britain a mass education society
  • Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth, PL4 8AA

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A Historical Association and University of Plymouth History Department talk.

Since the Second World War, secondary and higher education have advanced dramatically to play a central role in everyone's lives. Before the war, only 20% of the population went to secondary school and hardly anyone to university; today everyone is educated to 18 and 50% of young people go on to higher education.

How and why did this happen? This talk shifts attention from the well-known political leaders usually given credit – R.A. Butler, Tony Crosland, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair – to underlying changes in social and economic life: student and parental demand, the changing occupational structure, and the rarely mentioned 'swing away from science'. As a result of these transformations, 'meritocracy' – the idea that a few should be selected to succeed – has been challenged by democracy and its wider understandings of equal opportunity across the course of life.

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Date: Tuesday 22 March 2022
Time: 19:00–20:30
Venue: Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth
Ticket information: £6 / £4 for Concessions / free for Historical Association members / free to UoP students via SPiA

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Professor Peter Mandler 

Professor Mandler is the current President of the Historical Association. His talk focuses on issues from his recent book: ‘The Crisis of the Meritocracy: Britain's Transition to Mass Education since the Second World War’.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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