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Eton College Head says Covid-19 crisis will hit poorest hardest and widen inequality.

May 5, 2020 12:00 PM

Living in Poverty in Britain in 21st century

The UK is the world's 11th most prosperous nation but the coronavirus will hit the poorest hardest.

COVID-19 a trigger for profound change - "The unfairness will become transparent". says Eton College Head. Lupton's Tower, Eton College/photos/herrywiki/en:Creative_Commons (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en:https://www.flickr.com/photos/herry/)

'COVID-19 a trigger for profound change', and 'may well precipitate rapid social and economic transformation similar to that which followed two world wars' - 'because of mounting anger about inequality', Simon Henderson, headmaster of Eton College, reportedly told The Times newspaper. Henderson said that Eton will spend £100m over five years to help disadvantaged children in East Anglia, the Midlands and North.

According to Reuters, Henderson whose school's fees are £42,500 pounds pa told the Times Newspaper that, as a result of the latest crisis, "many of those who work in the lowest-paid roles are in fact the key to our survival and these people who have been undervalued for so long have shown astonishing dedication when we have needed them the most."

"Years from now, when historians look back at the events of 2020, they are likely to identify COVID-19 as the trigger for profound change," Simon Henderson, told The Times newspaper, "the First World War brought millions of women into British factories as men signed up to fight, helped women win the right to vote and they remained vital members of the workforce afterwards. Britain's welfare state and its National Health Service was set up after the Second World War'.

Although the ultimate impact of the outbreak remained unclear, the Eton Head, a school which symbolises the privileged pinnacle of the English class system, said COVID-19 could precipitate rapid social change. Henderson, who was educated at Winchester College, another elite school, said he wanted to challenge the notion that Eton was a byword for elitism.

Henderson said 'Eton could be castigated in political debate about inequality likely to follow the outbreak. He also said 'the latest crisis hit poorest hardest and was widening inequality. With children stuck at home the most vulnerable would "flatline or regress if they haven't been in school for many months, are living in cramped homes and don't have access to computers."

Eton will invest 100 million pounds ($125 million) over five years to help disadvantaged children in East Anglia, the Midlands and the north. The money will come from Eton's charitable endowment and fundraising, according to The Times.

Opponents of Britain's two-tier education system, where some parents spend small fortunes on on high-achieving, fee-paying schools, while most children attend state-funded schools of varying quality have called abolishing the charitable status of such fee-paying schools that gives such schools tax benefits.


Reporting by;Guy Faulconbridge

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