Public University Pathogens: Digitalisation, Commodification and Precarity

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:20
Oral Presentation
John HOLMWOOD, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Chaime MARCUELLO-SERVOS, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain
The excessive use of rankings, performance assessment and the commodification of teaching and research are three basic elements that drive a process of the global decoupling of knowledge and public values in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The cascade of budgetary cuts in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis accelerated a process of the neo-liberal reconstruction of HEIs, especially, in Public Universities, which in many places are undergoing processes of privatization and financialisation. Alongside processes of ‘flexibilization’, disinvestment and competition, new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have also introduced a strong ideology of the re-organization of the teaching-learning nexus. The idea of a digital society aligns with digital higher education to produce a new paradise of low cost delivery. The utopia of the promise hides the dystopia of its consequences. Here, we propose an analysis of three enemies of higher education: Digitalisation, Commodification and Precariatization. We propose a critical approach to these issues, as an attempt to reinforce the democratic significance of Public Universities in local development and in global society.