Educating the Few and the Many
DOI link for Educating the Few and the Many
Educating the Few and the Many book
The shadow of the 1944 Education Act – a 'progressive' 'One Nation Conservative' measure, with its raising of the school age, free secondary education and meritocratic tripartite secondary school system – hangs over T S Eliot's essay as it does his lectures on The Aims of Education two years later. Eliot sees two arguments for equality of opportunity in education: the utilitarian one that its absence leads to talent being missed and thus wasted to the disadvantage of society; and the moral one that there is an injustice in preventing anyone, through a failure to educate him, 'from the full development of his latent powers and faculties'. Eliot's purpose of course was not social depiction, but there is a degree of deliberate verisimilitude in his portrayal of members of the contemporary elite – aristocratic landowners, wealthy businessmen, rentiers, politicians, an eminent medical man, the head of a female Oxford college.