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Campaign for the Public University
Actualizado: fai 2 horas 22 min
In England and in Ireland one of the consequences of the politics of austerity is the privatisation of higher education and its marketisation as a commodity. Fintan O’Toole, literary editor of the Irish Times, sets out the ‘Culture Shock’ that this involves. As he writes, higher education “is not a consumer product but a social, economic and democratic imperative.” As in England, so in Ireland, the policies are self-defeating in terms of their aim to reduce the cost of higher education, but the consequences for democracy and political culture will be much more serious.
The publication of articles in the Times Higher and the Guardian that the costs of the new system of funding of undergraduate degrees in England will cost more than the system it replaces calls for some comment. This time it is not about the grubby behaviour of University leaders who failed to speak out and sought to forestall cuts in funding by allowing the costs to be shifted from current taxpayers to new cohorts of graduates (who, in turn, would be the future taxpayers asked to bear the accumulating costs down the line as well as repayments of their own loans). This time, we need to comment on the previous silence of the wider academic community.
Given that the Campaign for the Public University and other groups have been setting out the unsustainable nature of the new system and its ideological character since the publication of the Brown Review in October 2010, the only surprise is that the unsustainability of the new system should be a surprise.
Below, we present an explanation in terms of the three stages of academic awareness.