Loading in 2 Seconds...
Loading in 2 Seconds...
Public Goods and Private Commodities--The Case of Higher Education John Hawkins and Deane Neubauer IFE 2020 23 Feb-6 March 2009
The Contemporary Context • The pervasive ideology of contempoary globalization is neo-liberalism • Developed out of Reagan-Thatcherism, but has spread widely with countries borrowing selectively from it to suit their local purposes.
Tenets of Neoliberalism • Rule of the market--freedom for capital, goods and services • Market self-regulating allowing trickle down notion of wealth distribution • Reducing public expenditures--e.g. health and education • Decreased taxation (especially on upper incomes) to promote investment and consumption • Deregulation to allow market to self regulate • Privatization of public enterprise (from water to internet) • Changing perceptions of public and community good to individual and individual responsibility (Martinez and Garcia, 1997)
Western Notions of Higher Education as a Public Good • Grew out of liberal traditions of a market society (as opposed to state dominated) to provide opportunities for private capital. • A public good was one intended for all by virtue of citizenship in state. • The public good is the benefit derived from the whole of society by a given activity, e.g. the health of its population, security from external threat, etc. • Higher education a private good, tied to religious organizations before the mid-19th century. • Invention of the Land Grant University in the mid 19-the century to provide public higher education • Growing sense within progressive tradition of education as contributing to the public good—underlying notions of general education
Public and Private Higher Education • Private education supported by individuals or groups exists in the private sector--under state charter (regulation ranges from limited to relatively comprehensive.) • Public Education • First at state level--presumption of a “state pays” role. • Different developmental course--some state public universities become among the best, e.g. Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California • Significant expansion from 1960’s on with creation of multi-level university systems: research universities, state colleges, community colleges. • Reduced funding in 1980s and again in late 1990’s • Funding crisis: impose managerialism, raise student fees, develop stronger external funding, entrepreneurial activity. All of which equals a move toward the private sector.
Public and Private Higher Education • Private Education--Increasing secular trend over 19th century; creation of the “modern scientific university”; special role of liberal arts colleges--social role of “reproduction of elites.” • Emphasis on “general education” from Harvard in 1829 on. • Capitalist tradition of giving to private education • Post-war complexity of higher education development: Elite, Mass, and Convenience Institutions, and role of public/private investment
Major Public / Private Issues • Who authorizes and assures quality? Unique role of US associational model. Increased federal role in process. • The cost of higher education. GI Bill, Student Loans, Tuition costs--the theory of educational investment as a public good (hand out) • The alignment issue and the vocationalization of higher education: what should HE be for? • The down sides of managerialism (loss of tenure-track faculty, dependence on business and government for finance, loss of academic freedom.)
The Asian Inversions of the Public / Private Experience • Different traditions of absolutism • Absence of sovereignty assignment to “the people” • Ideas of “public” inseparable from government • Strong tradition of invested governmental bureaucracies • Higher education’s purpose to meet needs of the state, e.g. Meiji Restoration • Complex history of colonialism, imperialism and subsequent institutional creations of both public and private sectors • Sense that “the duties, rights and privileges” of the private sector have been delegated from governmental authority • Issues of quality strongly linked to administrative authority
Specific Neo-Liberal Challenges to Higher Education • Declining public budgetary support-cost shifting and user charges • Managerialism and academic capitalism as tools for running universities • The alignment issue: how do university outcomes align with economic needs? • Pressures to “vocationalize” the curriculum • Differential internal financing--shorting non-economic aligned disciplines • Shift in discourses away from those of the liberal tradition. • In light of current global financial meltdown, where has neo-liberalism led us?
Critique of HE as Commodity • Carries the “logic” of a consumer society and commodification: s/he who can pay, gets. • “Quality” referenced against what the market is willing to pay for. Vocational reductionism. • Content of higher education follows market, including private research funding--who does “pure research” in such a relationship? • Non-vocationally oriented subjects get ignored.
HE and New Public / Private Relationships • Issues of differentiated and expanded access: with massification, who gets what under what conditions? • The Globalization of Research--who does what? Where does the funding come from? • Social Mobility--the differential “value” of higher education to different classes of “consumers” • Decentralization and autonomy--who benefits from “liberalization of control?” • Higher Education ranking behavior as an introduction of a market mechanism—coupled with idea of “globally competitive universities.”
Some Relevant Questions • Can there be some irreducible meaning to “the public good” that might be associated with higher education? What would it be? • Can we derive essential elements of public and private sectors that cover the range of differences between Asian and non-Asian experiences? • Is neo-liberalism a particular form of “privatization” as it is applied to higher education? Are there significant differences between the emergence of neo-liberal regimes in the west and the eclectic borrowings of neo-liberal elements in Asia? • Does public higher education always contribute to “the public good”? Under what circumstances might it be viewed as non-contributory?
Public Private Issues for Further Discussion • Are there irreducible roles for the state in HE? • Will the global financial crisis result in a new interventionist role for the state? • Given the many different ways of discussing public / private may we not need a new language to talk about what is going on in HE? • What is the role and function of higher education and its transformative functions, for both the individual and society? How does one get the leadership necessary in this new context? • Need to differentiate the missions of individual institutions. When the market fails, how will the state step in to regulate in order to protect higher education institutions which are now dependent upon the market for funding.