Education is not an “accident of birth” and is a right for everyone, comedian Sir Lenny Henry has said as he became Birmingham City university chancellor. He said grew up thinking education was “not intended for the likes of me.”
In his first speech yesterday as chancellor, Sir Lenny, 58 said that he grew up believing education was “not intended for the likes of me”. He achieved his first Open University degree at the age of 46 and was knighted last year. He said the experience changed his life. “It opened my mind to more possibilities, new thinking and different perspectives.
“Being chancellor of Birmingham City University is a chance for me to give back, to contribute something to the generation of young people leaving school now and to those people coming back in to education – mature students – who, like me, missed out on the chance when they were younger.”
Sir Lenny, who was born in Dudley, will praise the university for having one of the most diverse student bodies in the UK. More than 45% of its students come from low-income households and 48% are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
“This institution understands that education is a right, not an accident of birth, and if you’re smart enough, creative enough and hardworking enough, Birmingham City University can provide you with life-changing opportunities, whatever your background,” he said.