I didn’t go to university to get myself a job

Chris Bourg has written a great piece about the insidiousness of neo-liberalism and education-as-an-investment over at her blog, check it out here: The Neoliberal Library: Resistance is not futile

I am one of those hopeless idealists who still believes that education is – or should be – a social and public good rather than a private one, and that the goal of higher education should be to promote a healthy democracy and an informed citizenry. And I believe libraries play a critical role in contributing to that public good of an informed citizenry.

In the neoliberal university, students are individual customers, looking to acquire marketable skills. Universities (and teachers and libraries) are evaluated on clearly defined outcomes, and on how efficiently they achieve those outcomes.  Sound familiar?

I’ve managed to make this blog of mine really dull tech stuff and zero politics for a while now, probably out of a desire to keep myself sane.  That said, the almost inevitable (and widely ignored in the press) move in the UK towards a for-profit education system should strike fear into the hearts of anyone who stops to think about it.

There’s two sides to this, the education-as-an-investment and the for-profit education system and they go hand in hand. Ever since the introduction of tuition fees in the UK, the ideology of “investing in your education” has gained a lot of traction here.  The next stop will almost certainly be the ramping up of the for-profit private education market, starting with the lift of tuition fee caps and ending with a two-tier education system that pumps out workers and  perpetuates inherited privilege.

Chris also talks a lot of sense about the ridiculous focus on the personal within politics, the focus on individualism at the expense of the wider movement.  Check out her blog, it’s a refreshing blast and a welcome change from the celebrity twitterati politics of ME that seems to pass for political discourse nowadays.  Sure, it’s important to understand that other people have different experiences that you.  Essential in fact.  But just understanding gets us nowhere and changes nothing.  It’s Acting, Doing.  That’s what we need.

For more info on these topics, and to actually help do something, tale a look at campaign group Public University https://twitter.com/public_uni and the UCU http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm

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