Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Cambridge is once more top university


According to the Guardian, Cambridge is once more the best university in the country. This is nice to know, but I am not sure I agree with the Guardian's criteria for ranking universities according to: 

..spending per student; their student/staff ratio; graduate career prospects; what grades applicants need to get a place; a value-added score that compares students' entry qualifications with their final degree results; and how satisfied final-year students are with their courses..

What should the criteria be? Number of sons of peers attending is the usual principle criterion, unless England has changed enormously since I was up at university, but I think antiquity, numbers studying proper subjects like classics, dearth of scientists, absence of business education and subjects with 'studies' in the name are the important things. On all except business studies Oxford, which I should have preferred, scores over Cambridge, my alter mater. Another important criterion is that students should not work hard.

Dryden, who went to Trinity (I so wish my headmaster had not dissuaded me from applying there), expressed my thoughts nowadays:

Thebes did his rude, unknowing youth engage;
He chooses Athens in his riper age.

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