What is Social Mobility?
Payne  concluded that, for those not upwardly socially mobile: “The solution to their plight is neither fairer competition to get seated, nor more chairs, desirable though that is. It requires a different approach altogether which addresses how we treat the ‘losers’ in the social mobility game”. This makes the assumption that the number of higher paid jobs will not expand. However, this approach lacks the sense of ambition that we expect our politicians to have on our behalf. Also, that seeking a fairer system of educational opportunity is not a valid aspiration. This should be a fundamental expectation in any democratic society that seeks to improve the conditions for its citizens. However, in seeking to foster a high-skill and high-tech economy, we still have a long way to go in the UK. We should instead be confident that educated people themselves will generate this expansion through their own invention and innovation if we encourage it. We should nurture and cherish our education since everything, including our environment, will depend upon it. In turn the opportunities should be both social and gender neutral so that a diverse set of views and values can thrive equally. This in itself may take up a fair proportion of the educational effort.
Mike Larkin, retired from Queen's University Belfast after 37 years teaching Microbiology, Biochemistry and Genetics.
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