Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

No Commodification: Letters

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

No Commodification: Letters

Article excerpt

The article "'Political experiment' must not reduce education to a commodity" (15 August) informs us that "the UK's pool of higher education experts ... has arguably taken a turn to the right". It then announces the arrival at the University of Southampton of Jurgen Enders, "who comes to the UK with a deep scepticism about the perceived attempt to turn higher education into a market and the student into a consumer".

This leads one to hope that some radical changes are about to be proposed from the Left. Not so. What we hear instead is that Enders does not believe that it is truly possible to create a market in education because it is hard to gauge the value of a course; he is worried about the drift towards "degree mills"; he does not object to students contributing to the cost of tuition; he would be surprised if British students started turning their backs on university; and he believes that "nobody quite knows if (in international ventures) students are any brighter after graduation".

Given that Enders describes English higher education as a "wonderful real- life laboratory" in which to study "radical policies" and their impact on universities, teaching and research, he is presumably going to make some concrete suggestion for improvement. …

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