Alex Bernadotte, founder of Beyond 12, spoke at Inspirefest 2016 about channelling citizens through the education system. Is it really a closed shop, or can kids from lesser income areas succeed?
In the US, only 8pc of students from the lowest income quartile can expect to earn a bachelor’s degree by their mid-20s, versus 82pc from the highest income quartile. Alex Bernadotte, quite rightly, is appalled by that.
“Think of the gap; think about what that means in terms of potential, or lost potential, for the students, their families, their communities and the world,” she said.
Beyond 12 wants to dramatically increase the number of low-income, first-generation, and historically under-represented students who graduate from college.
As industries shift towards technology and science, ensuring an adequate flow of graduates is key. If this requirement for more and more talent can be used to encourage the spread of people attending colleges and universities, all the better.
Neither of Bernadotte’s parents had been to university, but they were sure she needed to break that mould. Knuckling down and getting accepted to Dartmouth, an Ivy League institution in the US, Bernadotte thought she had finally made it, her family thought the hard part was done.
“Boy were we wrong,” she said. “I struggled the first year at university.