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Student Agreements and Student Consumers:The Marketization of Learning and the Erosion of Higher Education as a Public Good
Pages: 36-52+188-189
Year: Issue:  1
Journal: Peking University Education Review

Keyword:  学生消费者公共产品高等教育市场学生合约;
Abstract: This article argues that attempts by various national governments to restructure higher education according to market principles have constructed the student consumer as a social category,thereby altering the nature,purpose,and values of higher education.A key government attempt to champion the rights of the student consumer has taken the form of institutional charters which indicate the level of services students can expect to receive and what they will be expected to do in return.We employ the conceptual framework of Pierre Bourdieu to analyze the organizational characteristics and the dynamics of practice within institutions,paying particular attention to the impact on students and learning processes,and on the academic practices of faculty. By studying the production and provision of institutional information created to enhance the workings of the market,we suggest a particular image of higher education is promoted to prospective students,which simultaneously serves to regulate the expectations of current students.This suggests that information is not neutral but constructs a particular concept of the student experience that affects student identity and reinforces the student as consumer model.In this regard,we argue that the balance of the concept of higher education as a public and private good is reconstructed according to the changed social,economic,and political environment.We conclude that in academic and policy discourses,a focus on consumerism places externallydriven,instrumental aims upon universities which reinforce current notions of education as a private investment.
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