The effects of neo-liberal economic policies on the education system has been negative. During this economic regime, British education started to retreat from the spirit of collectivism and toward individual greed. The government of the time saw public expenditure (including those set aside for education) as a cause of economic weakness. Even the budget for public welfare measures took a hit in this period, which continues to this day. Based on capitalist ideology, it was argued that
“foolproof remedies for inadequate standards and runaway costs lay in empowering its consumers with choice, thereby compelling providers to respond to demand and compete for custom. Among the casualties of this re-thinking of welfare was the social democratic commitment to making society less unequal. Structural reforms in education may have largely failed to weaken the links between social class and attainment, but even the objective was now widely abandoned. The new common sense redefined equal opportunity as a matter not of reducing group disadvantage, but of freeing individuals to seize their chances in a more open educational market. Any resulting inequalities would be the unavoidable and justifiable outcomes of individual differences in ability and effort.” (Edwards, 2002, p.109)
In conclusion, while it is true that Britain’s participation in globalization has widened university access to the working class, it has not lifted them out of their subordinate role in relation to the ruling elite. While more blue collar families are turning into white collar ones, the shift is more a reflection of the requirements of the knowledge-economy and not a sign of social mobility. Such being the state of education in the UK, a case could be made for readopting time-tested traditional teaching methods and candidate selection processes. Also, contrary to policy impulses to end academic selection and reduce privileges enjoyed by private schools, both these features of the education system are still intact. This could play an important role in the future. (Haveman & Smeeding, 2006, p.126)
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