The History of England

from Celts through 20th century

Children of manual workers at school

Category: Education

It is still the exception for the children of manual work­ers, who form 72 per cent of the occupied male popula­tion, to remain at school beyond fifteen. The most recent evidence indicates that only about 3 per cent of children from this social class remain at school until eighteen, where­as 34 per cent of the children of the professional and mana­gerial class enjoy this avenue into higher education. Even within the highest ability groups only 6 per cent of manual workers’ children remain at school until eleven, as compared with 53 percent of children of professional and managerial workers entering the sphere of higher education by this route. In 1958, 62.4 per cent of boys and 83.2 per cent of girls aged seventeen were receiving no full-time or part-time day education whatever.

The above is an impressive indictment of our class society and reveals the truth behind the talk about the “opportu­nity state” in the capitalist press and propaganda.

Class rule under capitalism depends on (1) control over the key positions in the state administration, one of which is education and particularly higher education, leading to key posts in various fields; and (2) a system which pro­vides, or is thought to provide, its own justification.

If, by keeping the education system backward, the masses are uneducated and “ignorant” then the ruling class can tell the masses that they are unfit to have power.

Comment, March 21, 1964

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