Since the 1970s, we have witnessed the forces of market fundamentalism strip education of its public values, critical content and civic responsibilities as part of its broader goal of creating new subjects wedded to consumerism, risk-free relationships and the destruction of the social state, writes Henry Giroux of McMaster University in Canada, for Counterpunch.
Tied largely to instrumental purposes and measurable paradigms, many institutions of higher education are now committed almost exclusively to economic goals, such as preparing students for the workforce. Universities have not only strayed from their democratic mission, they seem immune to the plight of students who have to face a harsh new world of high unemployment, the prospect of downward mobility, debilitating debt and a future that mimics the failures of the past. The question of what kind of education is needed for students to be informed and active citizens is rarely asked.
Within both higher education and the educational force of the broader cultural apparatus with its networks of knowledge production in the old and new media we are witnessing the emergence and dominance of a powerful and ruthless, if not destructive, market-driven notion of education, freedom, agency and responsibility. Such modes of education do not foster a sense of organised responsibility central to a democracy.
Full report on the Counterpunch site
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