Dog-tired dogma

August 6, 2009

Having read your coverage of Ron Barnett's plenary address at the Higher Education Academy conference about the ethos that might shape the universities of the future ("Selfish models lose social touch", 9 July), I turned to the article by Mike Boxall hoping for further enlightenment ("The future's bright for universities ... if they reinvent themselves", 23 July).

Sadly, this piece by a consultant was simply the old privatisation argument presented in a series of unsupported assertions and imperatives delivered in splendid consultant-speak: "universities must move on from their past certainties and gear up for a new world order in education. The prize is a global ecology of knowledge."

The contrast between Barnett's insights and Boxall's regurgitation of free-market dogma could hardly better mark the crossroads we currently face in higher education. No prizes for guessing which way we will be led.

Christopher O'Hagan, Emeritus professor of educational development, University of Derby.

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