By Dr Jack Fosten
The dust has far from settled after a week in Catalonia which has sent shockwaves around the world. Events began on Sunday 1st October (termed “1-O” by the Catalans) with a banned referendum brought about by the separatist-leaning Catalan president Carles Puigdemont in defiance of orders from the Spanish government. Rather than permitting the vote to proceed peacefully in the same way as a similar referendum held in November 2014, the strategy of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government was to use police force to shut down the referendum and prevent Catalans from voting. What followed were ugly scenes, beamed across the globe, with heavy-handed police beatings dealt out to civilians in order to block off polling stations and remove ballot boxes.
By Pete Dawson
The Brazilian football Neymar has been transferred from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for a world record fee of £200m (€222m). It has also been reported that he will earn £782,000 (€865,000) a week. The five year deal will mean PSG will have shelled out close to £400m. These are extraordinary sums of money – even for football.
By Dr Oana Borcan
As parties tour the country parading their shiny manifestos and skilfully dodging the tough questions from the press, much confusion ensues over the problem of inequality in higher education and how best to address it. On the one hand, Labour and others criticised the Tories for the hike in tuition fees over the past years and for scrapping the £3500 non-repayable maintenance grants for students from disadvantaged backgrounds in August 2016. The implication, as critics suggested, would be that disadvantaged students would be laden with the largest debts, potentially deterring university entry in this group and deepening income inequality. On the other hand, we see the Conservative government raving about the current record number of disadvantaged students in higher education and warning that a Brexit in the hands of other parties will ruin this progress. In defending their policies, the Tories seem to focus more on absolute numbers and Labour, Lib-Dems, Greens and UKIP more on the relative performance of disadvantaged students; In this blog I will (1) go over the numbers and (2) the proposals and, finally (3) discuss the evidence relating to the effectiveness of proposed policies. While I focus here on policies related to the equality of opportunity in higher education, other proposed education policies can be analysed in a similar way.