Focus and Rationale
This paper focuses on the interrelation of the two factors, race and class, that affect the choices process of most young adults searching for higher education opportunities in various institutions in the UK. The rationale behind the quell to answer this question comes due to the evolution of higher education, making it available to people who in the past were not eligible due to scores attained, financial requirements, and racial divide among the society. Today, there are several willing funding bodies to cater for your financial shortfall, institutions offering remedies to prior poor performance in high schools, and the breaking of racial barriers causing free interaction of all races.
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Despite these changes in society and education, it is evident that there are treads that have naturally formed in admission to universities as the difference of choice pre-determined by societal classes and ethnicity. The student’s minds are set upon the two predicaments hence greatly dictated their choices wittingly or unwittingly.
Evidently, the history of the access to higher education has followed three aspects in the last century, namely; the era of great expansion due to increased funds availability in job placement and greater attachment of education, the reduction of sexual bias leading to more females enrolling in higher education, and finally the lack of practical racial equalities in various different components of the society. Despite the threat race is only skin deep, its impact is greater than assumed; most people are self-conscious of their race which affects all they undertake.
Since the Second World War, there has been significant growth in higher education and reduction of gender disparity from less than 3% to the current almost 200% increase. In those early times, higher education was a domain for the crème de la crème, and this was coupled with the little importance attached to higher education in the job search. The percentage of people with higher education in the job market was less than 2% of the workforce.
The basic stimuli to the surged interest for higher education were initiated by; full or partial funding by some willing institutions, the need to climb up the corporate ladder, and an increase in education funding by the government. The drawbacks of the growth were such as hiking of individual educational costs in the 1970s and 1980s that defined classes; those who could afford and those who could not attend certain schools, and the silent racial reflex due to some quarters feeling superior to others.
The research is based on six educational institutions, namely; Creighton Community School, Maitland Union-MU, Riverway College, Fennister FE College-FFEC, Cosmopolitan Boys-CB, and Hemsley Girls-HG. The choice of the research sample was based on several different factors that certainly make each unique from the other. The factors are; the composition or the age range that attends the schools, the level of education offered by the institutions, the gender composition; either mixed or single-sex, the composition of the attendees as minority-majority, nationals’ majority, race, classes, or mixed composition, and the ownership of the institutions as public or private.
To try to clear the findings from contradiction, the paper stirs away from other factors that influence the choice of higher education as peers, friends, family, religion, institution, and school. On top of race and class in society, the above factors may duly affect a student’s preference for certain schools.
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The research methods used were of three types; questionnaire on a total of 502 students from the mentioned schools who were year 12, year 13 and further education-FE students, focus groups, interviews to 53 students from some of the above institutions forming a subsample, interviews on intermediaries as teachers in the institutions and interviewed a number of parents.
In examining of market participation of the above-gathered data, it failed representative of the whole sample for most students in Fennister FE College-FFEC and Creighton CS were working class and the majority of the Maitland Union were the first generations in their families to attempt higher education.
Claims and Evidence
Despite not having any direct evidence, it has been inferred in the paper it is clear that students from the minority and lower socio-economic classes have increased their enrollment in higher education institutions in a bid to better their predicament. The students feel that with more education, they will have better opportunities in job search and promotions hence move to high socio-economic classes. Their school expenses are either paid through loans, grants, and paid employment. Out of the 53 students, only 23 were White, and only 12 of the 23 laid claimed to be White English. The case was different in the multi-ethnic and working composition CSS; 5 students were Bengali, 4 Africans, and 1 Chinese. So if you compare the overall demography of the country, the few numbers of minority students enrolled in higher education institutions are relatively a large percentage of their number residing in the UK. What this means is that if the population of the majority is 20,000 in an area around the higher educational institution, the ratio is 23: 20,000, whereas if you take one of the minority groupings as Chinese to be 50, the ratio is 1:50 that is 2% while the majority is less than 0.1%.
The increase in female enrollment in the universities has been affected by the change in the educational structure where more suitable courses have been developed. Also, the change in societal perspective on sexual alignment in jobs has added. Parents and the government now view all children as equal; thus, equal opportunities are offered.
It is true that in addition to grades, race, and socio-economic classes, other factors play a significant role in determining the school one applies to as peers, friends, families, individuality, the former school, and intermediaries. But most of these factors are overshadowed by the race and class interaction where it is not about your school of choice but the choice of your school.
The paper also claims that the greatest factor in the selection of schools to apply to apart from your grades is mostly determined by the race factor. The race factor in the UK generally dictates very many other factors like your financial background; most students of minority origin come from households that struggle financially, for they are either manual or unskilled laborers. Also, they fall under class groups of III manual, IV, and V. Due to the racial complexity in higher education, you find that White and especially White English will have a lot of advantages on their side as preference in funding; hence their socio-economic class merely affect their academic progress.
The socio-economic class of the student also comes with financial and travel constraints. Most minority students were found in preference of universities that are local to them. The localization comes due to minimizing the costs, gaining proximity to employment, and other benefits. The established middle-class students are least worried about the distance traveled to access higher education for finance is not a problem, and the need to work is the least of their priorities. When it came to paid employment, out of all 502 students administered the questionnaire, only a third of students from well-placed middle-class families were in paid employment compared to two-thirds of students from unskilled families. Two-thirds of all students in public or state schools worked, while only a third worked in private schools. In the mature student’s composition, the working number was higher, reaching up to 40%.
We can also see the claim on the class affecting the level of performance of the students in pre higher education and higher education schools. The well-endowed middle classes have the advantage of lesser working needs; some even do not work at all, which directed affects the hour set aside for personal studies. Low-class groups evidently work more and for more hours hence do fewer subjects and less personal study. The established middle-class students are likely to achieve distinctions and clear higher education faster than their less fortunate counterparts. This can be seen to be the reason why most of the elite higher institutions are composed of affluent students; still, there are low-income students who are either sponsored or work at the school to cater for tuition. The long hours of more than 10 hours were mostly occupied by students from lower classes compared to only one student working over 15 hours from a private school. To summarized the student that worked for more than 10 hours, the established middle class had 10%, ordinary middle class 17%, routine non-manual origin students were 21%, 30% manual group III, and 31% students from unskilled backgrounds worked. This inversely reflects the number of hours that the student dedicated to homework; the upper class more than the lower groups. Among all students, only 15% had private tuition; came mostly from private schools.
Due to the previous segregation in the higher education system, the entry by minority and lower socio-economic classes was dismal; hence most forms the pioneers in their families to join universities. The paper termbases its class categorization on the Registrar Generals’ social class grouping; the middle class as students from families in groups I and II, the working class as group III manual, IV, and V. Out of the 53 students interviewed, 33 were the first-generation applicant to the universities, the remaining 20 students had their relatives as aunts and uncles having attended some university, and a further 2 were either African refugees or from very poor families. 15 students out of the 53- 28% were from middle classes, specifically socio-economic groups I and II, with prior attainment of degrees in their families. Of the mature students, 18 came from class groups III manual, V, and VI, with only four coming from middle-class backgrounds.
We can correctly make some conclusions based on the research paper through the figures or inferences from the information provided. The first conclusion is that the two factors, race, and class, are almost inseparable, with our case study being the UK. The reason for this is that the minority, in one way or the other, form the lower socio-economic classes, namely; the manual III, IV, and IV. In the UK, the minority be categorized as Africans; from Africa or the Caribbean’s, Asians, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabs, and a number of other immigrants as Whites from the Eastern Block and other parts of the world. Most first-generation people of foreign ethnicity will be faced with numerous handicaps as language; people not speaking the queen’s accent get good jobs, settlement and employment facilities, lack financial facilities as mortgage and bank loans, racial experiences by extreme whites, and many others. This will make them not only select a school based on their ethnicity but also on financial ability.
Their failure to achieve exemplary distinctions in education at school for the young adults could be attributed to their classes and race. There are no quota intakes or special considerations for hardship students; thus, there is unfair competition that makes the minority and the financially non-established students to be edged out by the rightly placed students. There are different accreditations of educational institutions based on their performance; hence minority races and the lower classes are doomed to poorly accredited schools; this will be reflected even in the job placement; hence the haves will always have no limitations in placing their children where they want.
For many people of foreign ethnicity or races are located in most cosmopolitan cities as London, you will find their children being the majority applicants in the local higher institutions. So most of these local institutions are selected on the fact that they have the majority of minorities due to; the search for racial security, costs of education, and proximity to the residential areas.
Due to a large number of students from a minority background and lower socio-economic classes having to more and for long hours, we can conclude that there is plenty of cheap labor around the higher education schools being both skilled and unskilled.
Validity of the Claims and Evidence
The validity of the claims and evidence in this paper can be contested due to some elements that were intentionally or unintentionally overlooked. The first element is the selection of the samples. The samples that were chosen cannot in any way represent the whole sample. There are variances in age, level of education, and location. To get the correct information, the research should have harmonized the samples by selecting only higher education schools as colleges, look for different colleges in different areas spread out all over the UK, the age range should have been set to be like 8 to 21. And to support the allegations made on the interviews, questionnaire, the focus group, and intermediaries, there should have been a distinct separation of students and intermediaries interviews. The intermediaries’ information should have been used to support the students’ claims rather than be part of the research.
There is a lack of specificity in those who were researched; the figures should include a number of the different sexes included as in the 53 student interviews on employment; 20 were employed, of which 10 were females. This would give a clearer picture of the gender situation as affected by race and class factors. The paper should also specify or define the geographical placement of the sample schools in relation to each other. This has to lead us to conclude that the research was done around one location; we are not sure which is which!
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The research paper also gives a lot of loopholes to make wrong assumptions like it was done in a London city, and not larger the UK for you hardly find minority groups only in cities. It also makes you think that all the minority groups are dictated by race and class in selecting the universities to apply to; in the UK, there are very affluent people of minority origin as Chinese, Indians, and even Blacks. This should have been factored in to make the claims and evidence to be more accurate. Another likely conclusion is that all black are Africans or Africans from the Caribbean; we surely have other blacks from the UK itself, America, and Australia. Also, we have white people from other locations as Africa.
Other errors in the paper are that the paper concludes that the students establish middle class it’s possible that as the students from lesser economic classes toil for money, their rich counterparts idle or spend their time doing other activities like sports, indulgence in drugs, and many others vices hence spend even lesser time studying. Another assumption made in the research is that students work only for money to assist them in footing the academic bills, which are not entirely true; some student even from affluent, have a working culture entrenched in them hence will work as those that racially and financially limited.
The researcher should have applied the use of charts and other visual aids to synthesize and present the results of the research findings. When data is tabled or in graphs, it is easier to understand than when in sentence form for figures are involved.
There is also a conspicuous lack of constants or control elements which the results are meant to be compared and kept within in the methodology. Also, the research has refused to utilize all the possible tools of research; the tools are only limited to interviews and documented resources, leaving out the crucial cognitive power of observation. Observation is very powerful, for it is hard to influence the variables in any way.
Conclusion of the Research Assessment
The research paper presents a vague picture of the actual situation on the ground, as illustrated in the above limitations that deem the results suspicious. It seems that the work was done in a rushed manner where vital variables were neglected. Also, crucial information has been left out, making it possible for the users of the research to make wrong conclusions.
What I would recommend in this research is proper preparation, better ways of selecting the sample items based on factors like relevancy, number, locations and the intended objective or answer to the research question, more sample schools, use of more methods to interpret the data collected and proper presentation of the final information. It is still incomplete, for experts are needed to make it implementable. Despite that, the information can be used in various studies and projects the results of the implementation may slightly vary from what is truly expected. The most crucial factors in attaining the best results would be to allocate more resources to the activity like time, money, and human labor so as many as possible samples are dealt with.