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The Price of Education.
Cleary, John J
The rapid changes within the Irish economy over the last two decades have naturally given rise to a debate about the role of universities in Ireland, specifically with regard to their function in promoting economic growth. I think that faculty members should not feel threatened by this debate because an open-ended discussion about the aims and functions of a university in society is not only a healthy sign of academic freedom but is also constitutive of the tradition of universities since their founding in the high middle ages. For instance, while the university of Paris grew out of a cathedral school, the university of Naples was expected to provide functionaries for the kingdom founded by Frederick Barbarossa. Thus there is nothing new about society making practical demands on its universities, such as the provision of well trained professionals. What is new, however, is the conflicting demands being made by the Irish government which expects that universities should serve as engines of growth in a knowledge economy, on the one hand, while addressing social problems like inequality, on the other hand, by providing the most academically promising students from underprivileged backgrounds with greater access to third level education. As a result, universities are often accused of being elitist institutions, while also being asked to become centres of excellence. Quite frankly, the government will have to make up its collective mind as to whether it wants university faculty to function as social workers or as scientific researchers. In this essay I claim that the current ideologies of accountability and accessibility contain a potential threat to academic freedom, and that they may also serve to undermine academic standards.
Keyword(s): maynooth; university; meaning and value of higher education; higher education; price; education
Publication Date:
Type: Book chapter
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Contributor(s): Kelly, T.A.F.
Institution: Maynooth University
Citation(s): Cleary, John J (2006) The Price of Education. In: What Price the University? Perspectives on the Meaning and Value of Higher Education from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. National University of Ireland Maynooth, Maynooth, Ireland, pp. 25-35. ISBN 0901519766
Publisher(s): National University of Ireland Maynooth
File Format(s): other
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First Indexed: 2020-04-02 06:18:55 Last Updated: 2020-04-02 06:18:55