Workshops Notes

 workshop: commercialisation of education

author: aik

Summary of workshop: Commercialisation of education and research.

Workshop about strategy, goals and ideals of the anti-commercial academic movement.

LVC, 1-9-’02, 14:30

With the vast increase in student numbers since the late 1960s also came a rise of costs. In stead of subsidizing all these ‘young minds’, goverments seem to regard ‘privatisation’ as the only logical solution. By inviting corporations into the schools the money is brought in, but what about the companies’ intentions? Isn’t their keyword ‘profitability’? And aren’t there any inevitable consequences, like the disappearance of academic diversity, a reduction of quality, indoor advertising and the exclusion of students in decision-making? Afterall, that’s what the European education market calls for.

The workshop got cut short because of a lack of location-time, but the participants regrouped at Las Vegas. There the discussion picked up pace and tackled the most important question: ‘How do we stop this?’ Andre Klukhuln, philosopher and co-ordinator of ‘Studium Generale’ at the University of Utrecht suggested a division of applied, corporate funded, science and fundamental, state-subsidized, science. Others pleaded for creating alternative courses and the forming of a grassroots-network set on turning the next generation of students into a critical one; to prevent them from being subjected by corporate headhunters looking for product-praising research.

Between proposals for long-term projects and direct action (as in: the next day!) there was a clear and hopefull conclusion: the commodification of the educational system may look imminent, but it’s nothing a little heart-felt, inspiring and motivating activism can’t solve –the only thing we have to do is never give up.


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