The demonisation of higher education

Posted: July 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

University Blog

These are scary times. At no point in my academic career have I experienced such an avalanche of criticism of higher education institutions, and so much publicly expressed scepticism of the sector’s goals, standards, ethics and prospects. Nor is this a localised phenomenon, very similar things are happening elsewhere. So for example, the recent issues of the British journal Times Higher Education are full of comments (here, for example) about the collapse in morale and self-confidence of the university sector, and the cuts-and-criticism approach of politicians. In some US states, funding has been cut dramatically, while politicians wonder aloud whether past investments have really been worthwhile.

Apart from the criticism, what events in these (and other) countries have in common seems to be a hesitation by the universities to state their case in a coherent manner. Individuals may speak out, but when the sector as a whole does…

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