Sunday, 10 January 2016

Doffing The Mortar Board

Universities and such are not the same as when I were a lad.  Here in the UK there are many more of them.  Around them all, old and new there are a variety of forms of study and of ways and means of getting this or that qualification.

It was not simple then and it is a lot more complicated now.  But a question is arising about what they are becoming as we move on into the 21st Century. At one time we had the notion that in such places there would be many and various ideas and continuing debate about knowledge.

Along with all these changes have been radical changes in the way they are financed, how studies are paid for, who they are owed to and who might own the ideas.  In some senses they have been encouraged to become more business like and adopt methods and organisations derived from current management theory.

What is lost in all this?  It could be a great deal.  It might be that the ideas of university education, its purpose, what can be done and said and the way "research" is done, proposed and used could be very different from the past.

This article in Open Democracy on the subject of The Corporate University And Its Threat To Academic Freedom refers to one in New Zealand as an example of what is happening on a much larger scale.

It is longish and closely argued but when it suggests that public relations and conformity of ideas have become crucial to the function of many them, if that is the case, then what are universities for?

Are they becoming simply academic pipelines to produce, sort and allow an identikit population to service higher end management and control of the economy?


  1. Many traditional university courses are probably doomed if they can be delivered via the web. These days we can listen to the best lecturers in the world online.