Why is having a higher level of education seen as a privilege?


Why is having a higher level of education seen as a privilege?
Education is the process of teaching or learning, especially in a school or college.

Why is being educated a privilege?

Those with university and/or formal higher education are deemed to bring extra value to an organisation, and society. They are often attributed with traits such as intelligence and viewed as more skilled and capable than those with no formal higher education. Only in recent years have job postings started to include experience at degree level ‘or equivalent’.

What is your privilege:

  • I am confident that my education enhances my professional profile and will put me in a favourable light with potential employers.
  • Because I have a post-graduate university degree others value my opinions and knowledge; they consider me well educated.
  • I am not insecure about my educational background and rarely feel uncomfortable or intimidated in professional settings.
  • I am seen as qualified for, and have access to, more professional opportunities because of my formal education.

The stats don’t lie:

  • 90% of the world’s population had completed primary education in 2020, but only 66% had attained secondary education. (Statista, 2019)
  • Only 5% of disadvantaged sixth-form students enrol at Russell Group universities compared with 44% of independent school students.  (Impossible? A social mobility report, 2017)
  • 64% of young people said they would be interested in doing an apprenticeship rather than going to university if one was available for their preferred career path. (Access to Advantage – Sutton Trust, 2018)

What to do next?

Working towards creating a more equal society and workplace starts with recognising the ways in which we are privileged. The assumption is that higher education grants stronger social mobility, earning capability, accelerates opportunities and gives more choice along with acceptance. With a multitude of options and entrepreneurial avenues, vocational education favours those who can utilise wider skills. Mindsets need to shift in schools, at home and generally in society. Vocational education should have equal status when presented. If you’re interested in starting a journey to overhaul this imbalance then join the Privilege Project today.

Watch the recorded session on Education privilege from our summer event.