Tuesday, 10 May 2011

B.A. or B.Sc. by Combat

On the day on which our utterly shameless Tory government briefly floated the possibility of wealthy British students buying their way into our universities (if they are prepared to pay the exorbitant fees which overseas students are currently charged), I note that Morris might mischievously be seen as also promoting an unusual approach to higher education issues in his early short story ‘Golden Wings’. For the young knight Lionel finds in that tale that ‘the next day they held a grand tourney, that I might be proven ... And Alys sat under a green canopy, that she might give the degree to the best knight’!

So: degrees by physical combat rather than by Finals examinations – well, it might be an improvement of sorts (definitely involves less marking for over-stretched academics). And certainly either system is better than just using your accumulated family wealth to buy your way in - no youthful prowess of any kind, martial or intellectual, at stake in that.


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