Contacts - getting on in life
The UK's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says he wants to stop people 'getting on in life' purely because they have good social contacts - because of 'who they know'. Let's talk about social mobility.
In Britain we talk about social class - upper, middle and working class. Social class is usually defined by the job somebody does. It's quite complicated because these aren't definite groups in modern Britain. For example, you might work as a teacher and have advanced educational qualifications but consider yourself working class because of your social background. Your parents may have worked in manual jobs. Or you might not work at all but be upper class.
The government says that only seven percent of school children in Britain go to private schools - but they make up more than half of the people in top jobs in professions like law, banking and in the media. There are reports that social mobility is lower than it used to be. It is harder for children from disadvantaged backgrounds to improve 'their lot in life'.
Nick Clegg the Deputy Prime Minister says he wants to improve social mobiilty so that children from less advantaged backgrounds will be able to get better jobs. For example if a student wants to do a work placement - an internship - at a government department they won't be able to arrange it through personal contacts but will be chosen on ability.
How does social mobility work in your country? Is it more important who you know than your abilities or experience? Does it matter what kind of school you attend as a child?
Here are some words and phrases you might find useful:
advanced educational qualifications - university degrees
manual - jobs done with your hands
private schools - schools where you have to pay fees
disadvantaged - in this case, poorer