عدد المساهمات : 38191
تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
|موضوع: Born poor, stay poor الأربعاء 23 مايو 2012, 06:20|| |
Born poor, stay poor There is a "stark gap" between the life chances of the poorest and the better-off in Britain, the Government will admit today, as it publishes alarming research that reveals how wide that gulf is. The study, to be unveiled by Nick Clegg, shows that: l One child in five is on free school meals, but only one in 100 Oxbridge entrants is. l Only 7 per cent of children attend private schools, but these schools provide 70 per cent of High Court judges and 54 per cent of FTSE 100 chief executives. l One in five children from poorer homes achieves five good GCSEs, compared with three out of four from affluent homes. In response to the findings, Mr Clegg will take a political gamble by publishing new benchmarks so the public can track whether the Government is delivering its pledge to improve social mobility. Ministers admit they are making a rod for their own backs. In a speech to the Sutton Trust, Mr Clegg will admit that the Coalition "cannot afford" to leave a legacy like the current position. "Morally, economically, socially: whatever your justification, the price is too high to pay. We must create a more dynamic society. One where what matters most is the person you become, not the person you were born," he will say. The strategy document will admit: "No one should be prevented from fulfilling their potential by the circumstances of their birth. What ought to count is how hard you work and the skills and talents you possess, not the school you went to or the jobs your parents did. "The UK is still a long way from achieving this ideal. Income and social class background have a significant impact on a child's future life chances and there have been few signs of improvement in recent decades." The Deputy Prime Minister, educated at the private Westminster School and Cambridge University, will insist he is the right person to champion social mobility. "I was lucky. But it should not be a question of luck. It is my strongest political conviction that if we have a chance to change the way our society works, if we have a chance to open up success to all, we must seize it," he will say. Mr Clegg will dismiss "the myth that the promotion of social mobility means lowering standards, or somehow dumbing down, to socially engineer a particular outcome. This is nonsense ... which is usually peddled by those who benefit from the status quo – and therefore want to keep things the way they are." The Liberal Democrat leader will insist the problem can be tackled in an age of austerity and reject the idea that the solution is to redistribute income. Other factors include the education system, the housing market and possibly social attitudes, Mr Clegg will argue, so the Coalition is focusing on closing educational attainment gaps and improving early years education. He will announce that the Government will be the first in the world to publish 17 annual "trackers" including: The proportion of children on free school meals achieving grades A* to C in English and maths at GCSE. Participation by 18- to 24-year-olds in full-time education by social background. The proportion of children achieving at least grades AAB at A-level by types of school or college attended. But Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, warned the Government could not improve social mobility without tackling inequality. He said: "If you are born poor in a more equal society like Finland, Norway or Denmark then you have a better chance of moving into a good job than if you are born poor in the United States. If you want the American Dream – go to Finland. This isn't surprising. It's harder to climb the ladder when the rungs are further apart." A Church of England charity described England as one of the most unequal countries in the Western world as research showed an "alarming disparity" between the richest and poorest neighbourhoods. Nine out of 10 of the poorest communities – five of them in Liverpool – are in the North-west of England with the 10th in Middlesbrough in the North-east, the Church Urban Fund discovered. Only two of the top 10 least-deprived communities are in the North of England – Wheldrake, York, and Alderley Edge, Cheshire, with Camberley Heatherside, Surrey, heading the list of the least-deprived. University test: two who aimed for something better Georgina Jones, 23, Peckham: "So many can't break the chain.A lot see university as for rich white kids" She achieved A*s and As at GCSE and A-level and studied Law at Nottingham, the first person in her family to go to university. With support from the Social Mobility Foundation she earned a training contract at an international law firm. "I live in Peckham with my mum, brother and sister. We've always been a normal working class family. My father passed away when I was 13 and my mum got into quite a lot of debt. I went to the local comprehensive and I always knew I wanted to get out of Peckham – I didn't want the same sort of lifestyle that I saw some of the people around me getting into. Guys I went to school with ended up in prison. Girls were having children at 15. People would always say that middle-class life and middle-class job belonged to another world. My dream was to go to Oxford but people told me that I wouldn't because of my postcode – that people like us didn't go to Oxford. "I was really ambitious. I got good GCSEs and A-levels and got a place to study Law at Nottingham. But it isn't like that for everyone. I feel like my peers are being held back. Teachers would just say get 5 A*-Cs. There was very little guidance that the good universities wanted higher grades in more traditional subjects. So many people can't break the chain. A lot of people saw university as being for rich white kids – they'd cross off university and all the careers associated with it. "Schools are the crucial thing. For people that need a bit of support we need smaller classes and more peer support in schools." Liridon Sylisufi, 19, Dagenham, east London: "The first barrier you meet is a lack of understanding that there is more out there" "I was born in Albania and arrived in the UK aged 5. I was in school mostly in Newham and then moved to a secondary school in Barking and Dagenham. It was me, my mum and my little brother at home and I was on free school meals. "When it came to Sixth Form there was a lot of pressure on me to get work, which I did 20 hours a week in Argos. It was hard to fit my studies in around that. There were seven in my friendship group and only two of us went on to Sixth Form. "In Newham the first barrier you meet is a lack of understanding that there is more out there. You don't get a lot of people that have been to the top universities from schools like mine. I was the first person to get into Oxbridge from my Sixth Form. It's not that people aren't able to do it – they're not pushed to apply." Liridon Sylisufi was given access to work experience programmes and skills workshops by the Social Mobility Foundation.SourceEmail ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook 0 comments Links to this post Iraq oil against antiquities Babylon's Hanging Gardens were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but heritage appears to be no match for Iraq's booming oil industry in a dispute over a new pipeline. As Baghdad is working to get UNESCO to list Babylon as a World Heritage Site, archaeologists and oil ministry officials are in a battle over a pipeline that one side insists threatens the site and could cause irreparable damage to the ruins. Qais Rashid, head of the Supreme Board of Antiquities and Heritage, said the oil ministry drilled to extend a pipeline that runs about 1.5 kilometres (0.9 miles) in length, to transport petroleum products through the archaeological site of Babylon. The pipeline was officially opened in March. "The work could damage priceless antiquities belonging to the modern era of Babylon, especially by drilling," Rashid said. Mariam Omran, head of the antiquities department in Babil province where the site lies, added that much of the archaeological area was still unexplored, and while no damage was visible, there was no telling what the impact was beneath the surface. "There may be antiquities just centimetres below the ground," she said. "The antiquities at these sites have not yet been fully discovered, just like the rest of the historical landmark." But oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad defended the Babylon project, saying "it was carried out ... hundreds of metres (yards) from the archaeological sites." "We did not find any traces or evidence of the existence of antiquities during the drilling operations." Babylon lies some 90 kilometres (50 miles) south of Baghdad and is considered one of the cradles of human civilisation. It was the capital for two renowned kings of antiquity: Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) and Nebuchadnezzar (604-562 BC), who built the Hanging Gardens. The Inner City covers an area of 2.99 square kilometres (1.15 square miles) and the outer walls surrounding the city east and west of the Euphrates enclose another 9.56 square kilometres (3.69 square miles). Listed as an archaeological site since 1935, it has been partially excavated over the past century, but much of the ancient city remains to be uncovered. A 2009 report from The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) said "the archaeological city was plundered during the US-led war in 2003 that ousted Saddam Hussein. Contents of the Nebuchadnezzar and Hammurabi museums and of the Babylon Library and Archive were stolen and destroyed." And the city was damaged by "digging, cutting, scraping and levelling" for a US military base that was located there from April 2003 to December 2004. The Ishtar Gate and Processional Way were among key structures damaged, the UN agency said, as American forces made key adaptations to the historical site to fortify their base by building trenches and pits, and using chemicals to complete construction works. Iraq is a country rich in history and archaeological sites that offer great potential for tourism, but the vast majority of government revenues still come from oil. Exports are rising rapidly, averaging 2.508 million barrels per day in April and pulling in $8.8 billion (6.8 billion euros), with both figures at their highest levels since 1989. The sales are providing much-needed income to help fund rebuilding of Iraq's dilapidated infrastructure, wracked by decades of war and sanctions. "There have been two pipelines to transport petroleum products in the same location for more than thirty years," said Jihad, adding that "the new strategic pipeline supplies oil products from refineries to the south of Baghdad." But Rashid unfurled a map of the site across his desk in his office in Iraq's National Museum and said: "The pipeline passes via the northern edge of the site, through the archaeological site, and then through the southern edge." He said the pipeline presented "major risks," including pollution of the environment, and the threat of a potential explosion of the pipeline. Omran showed off a visible section of the pipeline, which lies nearly two metres (6.5 feet) underground. "The implementation of this project," she said, "is an extreme violation of the law on the protection of antiquities." Iraq made three requests to establish Bablyon as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under Saddam Hussein's regime, but all were rejected because the site was badly administered, the organisation said. Saddam did not properly care for the site, even rebuilding part of the city with bricks stamped with his initials. But Rashid said "UNESCO stressed that it is not only the former regime, but the current regime in Iraq that also does not respect the antiquities." UNESCO told AFP when asked about the pipeline that "it will respond formally on this matter" but gave no further details. Rashid, however, claimed that "putting in the pipeline is like a bullet that killed our efforts to include the city of Babylon" as a World Heritage Site.