University reform – assessing the potential for changes from within

In the aftermath of the recent students protest and the consequent wave of occupations in University campuses across the country, it is interesting to assess what could be done to change and ameliorate the UK higher education system from within, and not only from without. In this sense, the role of academics could be crucial in reforming and restructuring the teaching and research systems, as intelligent reforms could have the effect of reducing the need for university fees.

For example, according to Michael Collins, one way to overcome the much feared discrimination between art & humanities and STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) subjects could be that of embracing the ‘liberal arts’ academic model found in the USA.  In the author’s perspective, the combination of vocational and humanities subject could avert the emerging view of students as ‘cogs in an economic machine’. In practical terms, it is argued that this approach could have the potential of saving money and increasing both the personal and the public value of university degrees. Crucially, these changes should be started off from within academia.

Certainly, the view provided here explores just one of the many possible options to improve the UK Higher Education institutions – nonetheless, it can be valued for shedding light on the fact that intellectual activity is not a mere product sold on the market, and should not be based on measurements of value derived from sheer market competition.

Categories: Higher Education

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