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"Red-brick" is actually a derogatory term for universities founded mostly in the 19C in major provincial cities (built of red brick rather than ancient stone...).

Yes, Oxbridge and some other prestigious places (like Imperial) command the best job spots. But this is to a great extent due to the class intake of these universities. The British class system perpetuates itself by hiring the children of the ruling class to follow in the footsteps of their elders. If you're not a child of the upper/upper-middle class, an Oxbridge degree will not suffice to open all doors to you -- unless you have been a particularly brilliant student, in which case you may be co-opted, while upper-class graduates can make do with a mediocre degree and be welcomed.

This doesn't mean that red-brick and more recent universities command no respect, and that graduates can't get a job. The problem is more one, as you say, of salaries unlikely to cover the cost of repayment of student loans. Sooner or later, Britain will have to face up to the fact that education is a public good that calls for public financing. Until then, the City rules, and the City is a flying island that doesn't care about the country beneath's infrastructure.

I have no idea either of how British youth see their prospects. In particular, white working-class youth.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jan 4th, 2013 at 03:03:16 AM EST
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