Monday, April 22, 2013

University Challenged

Apparently Manchester University are about to be sneered at in the semi-finals of University Challenge. They also have a pretty strong record in recent years. But there's something in this puffery in the Guardian that doesn't appear to have been mentioned:
Beating Oxbridge is particularly gratifying, admits Tristan Burke, captain of Manchester's 2012 victorious team, which triumphed over Cambridge's Pembroke College in the final after seeing off four other Oxbridge colleges in the knockout stages. "University Challenge is where the majority of people get their impressions of universities from. You still see that sketch from the Young Ones being rolled out. Generally there is this ingrained idea that Oxford and Cambridge are in some way educationally superior to the red-brick universities. So from a political, education-policy point of view, there is a certain satisfaction in proving that wrong."

In this year's first round, Manchester University beat Lincoln College, Oxford by 5 points. Lincoln College has 300 undergraduates and 200 postgraduates. Manchester University? 28,500 undergraduates and 11,000 postgraduates. Well done and all that, but if this is a story of David and Goliath, I think Mr Burke has the parties confused...


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