24 January, 2021

Classroom Shopping

All the management mumbo jumbo cannot make education a retail product

Sandeep Adhwaryu
Classroom Shopping
It seems that every time I open a newspaper these days, an educational supplement falls out. Tucked between headlines about Garib Raths, nuclear non-proliferation, Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunctions and which batsmen should open the Indian innings are articles and advertisements touting educational institutions that teach you everything from how to become a flight attendant to the finer points of financial management. Simply measured by the column inch, education has become big business.

And that's the problem. Somewhere in the past few decades, along with an almost universal trend toward faith in market forces and the deification of management gurus, education has taken on the trappings of corporate culture. School and university administrators, along with some faculty, now communicate in businesspeak. The first time it struck me was when I started teaching at a university, almost 20 years ago. One of the deans stood up in a faculty meeting and announced, with a straight face: "We deliver an educational product on a cost-effective...


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