Tuesday 16 January 2018

Brendan Keenan: Quality is key to education

We have to be very careful what we mean when we talk about 'grade inflation' in our education system

IDO not wish to sound either old or clever, although there is no doubt that I qualify on at least one count. But the fact is that when I attended Queen's University, Belfast, it had 5,000 students, and today it has more than 25,000.

These raw numbers might suggest that I would be among the cleverest 20 per cent of today's student population. I very much doubt it. My recollection is that it was relatively easy to get into college back then. I even qualified for medical school, before common sense prevailed on both sides. I do not believe I could get the necessary points now -- not even if I were 18 again.

Not as many people tried to go to college then. The normal entry into journalism, for instance, was as a school leaver. Apart from anything else, as former British Labour leader Neil Kinnock famously said, his (and my) generation was the first where ordinary kids could afford to go to university.

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