Garrett Lynch on Sun, 13 Jun 2010 11:48:33 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> [iDC] A movement of unemployed teachers

Patrick, the situation you describe is far from being particular to  
the states.  In England/Scotland and Wales we are in much the same  
situation with the higher education system being dismantled bit by bit  
by the labour government over the last ten or so years.  Now we have a  
shared government and the effects of the recession are fully impacting  
universities we are too far down that road to see any change and  
simply see funding cut after cut.  You may have seen on mailing lists  
how Middlesex University Philosophy Department is being shut down, so  
far this has been the worst hit.

What is really disheartening here is related to what you said about  
expectation or right to a degree.  A perception that A) everyone  
should have a degree.  No they shouldn't, a degree is hard work and  
should be earned through achievement as you stated, fees do not pay  
for the qualification they pay for the teaching and access to  
materials/equipment/space.  But as well as this not everyone needs a  
degree, there are many careers where experience on the job or a trade  
qualification is far more relevant.  B) Students now see themselves as  
customers and while it's good that this helps improve and keep an eye  
on standards, attitudes to lecturers have dramatically changed.  We  
are simply service providers, no longer professionals or dare I say  
it, specialists in our field.

The media work overtime here building a stereotype of the typical  
students life being full of alcohol, drugs, sex, music festivals etc.  
and this has become a right of passage for young people as if being  
registered as a student is necessary for that.  So we have many  
students here who should never have gone to university and  
unfortunately many more who end up with degrees which they can not or  
do not use in any way.  Universities response to increasing student  
numbers?  Write more degree's, combine or mix degrees to produce new  
awards with sometimes the oddest of combinations and questionable  
academic merit.  So in effect we accept and help snowball the  
situation even more.


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