Why We Should Resist the Idea of Student as Consumer

Why We Should Resist the Idea of Student as Consumer
Richard Scullion reflects on the demands being placed on higher education to make it “responsive to market drivers” (marketization). He argues that the process is shaping higher education on more than an organizational level—it is changing the very way in which people perceive higher education and its social and cultural value. Youth too often arrive at university with the view that consumers are sovereign, and they are simply consumers of a service. This attitude does a disservice to students, faculty, and the public at large in a number of ways: deterring students from adopting a position of not-knowing and engaging in “the angst of deep learning” in order to develop their critical faculties; increasing a sense of complacency regarding rising student fees ( after all, they are “paying for a service”); turning teaching salaries into “performance-related pay” in order to regulate what happens in the classroom; and transforming classroom teaching and learning into content-driven rather than reflective processes that fetishize “simplicity and clarity” and ultimately undermine the value of both students as people and education itself. Read the article…

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