The choice delusion (2 of 2)

November 18, 2010

David Eastwood complains that "much of the debate surrounding Browne has been ideological". It is perhaps to avoid being himself charged with taking an ideological stance that he casts the Browne proposals as "a radical evolution...in which informed student choice, rather than a radically contingent institutional morphology, will determine the shape of English higher education".

We must suppose that this innovative terminology is meant to convey Eastwood's commitment to objectivity, but isn't there just a hint of ideology (not to say spin) in calling the new (and presumably non-contingent) morphology "a market in which higher education is free to all students"? Well, yes, in the same way that a sofa bought under the terms "pay nothing for six months" is free. If anyone buys that, they can hardly be the critical thinkers that Eastwood's university is no doubt keen to recruit.

Chris Sinha, Department of psychology, University of Portsmouth.

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