Economic rationalism drives education
Nature: The current strong emphasis on the articulation of higher education and the workplace reflects a widespread assumption that the purpose of universities is to produce workers to fit employment opportunities and industrial needs.
Claim: In recent years the situation of universities has been profoundly transformed by policies following on from economic rationalism that have altered, in ways not yet fully developed or understood, the composition of the student body, the processes of selection, the relationship between student and teacher, and the understanding of what a tertiary qualification means.
Counter Claim: It would be a mistaken strategy to dwell too nostalgically on other versions of the university. There is no benefit in simply pitting an intractable rhetoric of culture, personal development and ethical values against an equally intransigent language of utility, vocation and marketability. It is not only expedient but accurate to accept that university courses have some vocational function and content, while also arguing for the intrinsic social and individual benefit of our disciplines. The time has come to campaign effectively for the rehabilitation of the generalist degrees, building on the respect within the community for the intellectual skills embedded in them.
Problem Type: E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update 16.03.1997 – 00:00 CET