OECD asserts the purpose of higher education is to serve labour market demands

Higher education institutions are expected to provide education and training relevant to labour market demands, conduct research activities that will build a knowledge-based economy, as well as contribute to social cohesion, regional development and global well-being. They must also strive constantly to fulfil their multiple missions, improve the quality of the education provided, increase their efficiency and demonstrate their contribution to society.

This in a nutshell defines UK HE policy. Ars gratia artis? I don’t think so. But, wasn’t that always a bourgeois luxury? Can we understand “social cohesion, regional development and global well being” through a myriad of local perspectives? Is this only a neoliberal, free-trade, carpetbagging vision? To whom in society must universities “demonstrate their contribution”?

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