Peter Mandler: The Crisis of the Meritocracy: Britain's Transition to Mass Education Since the Second World War

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Abstract

Meritocracy - the idea that there are equal opportunities for all provided that one has the ability and will to climb the "ladder of opportunity" – seems to be a dirty word in British education these days. For decades, there has been a growing consciousness of just how unequal access to this ladder happens to be, and so equitable access and provision for all in education is repeatedly called for. Strangely, though, the meritocratic ideal remains rooted in British education in the way that student progression, development, and attainment are assessed. Thus, it is unsurprising that Peter Mandler titles his book "The Crisis of the Meritocracy". Given the extent to which meritocracy has become a pejorative idea, yet it still permeates the education system in the methods we choose to measure how "good" a student is, we might suggest that the idea of meritocracy is, at least, suffering from a crisis of identity as it becomes both something unwanted, but apparently valuable enough to retain.
Original languageEnglish
JournalErziehungswissenschaftliche Revue
Volume20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • British education
  • mass education
  • education institutions

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