Thursday, 3 January 2008

The old school tie

I didn't attend a distinguished school like your good self. However, my old school produced two Nobel Prize winners. Did your school? Thought not.

My old school used to be selective. It attracted the most intelligent children in the area, not necessarily from the richest families, and certainly not the richest area. It then used to churn out young adults who could contribute effectively to society. Some became great.

My grandmother was clever enough to attend the school during its selective days. Decades later, she spoke warmly of it and of a French student teacher called Monsieur Henry, 'a black man' in days when a northern town like us had rarely seen 'a black man'.

Now, I did not attend that school during its glory days. When I was there, it was a pretty average Comprehensive, but not bad at all. Since then, its catchment area has been changed, its roll has been cut, and its exam results are not a patch on what ours were. Is this progress? I don't think so.

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