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Higher Education As a Public Good

Critical Perspectives on Theory, Policy and Practice


Edited By Ourania Filippakou and Gareth Williams

Higher education is likely to involve the majority of people at some time in their lives in the twenty-first century. The main drivers of expansion in the previous century were a belief that widening access promotes social equity and the advance of knowledge as the main factor underpinning economic success for individuals and societies. However, universal higher education in rapidly changing economies raises many questions that have been inadequately treated by previous authors. This volume focuses on the question of whether it is appropriate and inevitable that higher education systems are becoming so large and so diverse that the only realistic way they can be analysed is as aggregates of market-like transactions. Most of the authors are not satisfied with this conclusion, but they recognise, from several disciplinary perspectives, that it is no longer possible to take it for granted that higher education is intrinsically a public good. Are there convincing alternatives?


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Ronald Barnett is Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at the Institute of Education, London, his work having focused on the conceptual and theoretical understanding of the university and higher education. His books include The Idea of Higher Education, Higher Education: A Critical Business, Realizing the University in an age of supercomplexity, A Will to Learn and, and most recently the first two volumes of a trilogy, ‘Being a University’ (Routledge, 2011) and ‘Imagining the University’ (Routledge, 2013). He is a Fellow of the Society for Research into Higher Education, has been awarded a higher doctorate of the University of London and has been a guest speaker in over 35 countries. Email: Angela Brew is a Professorial Fellow in the Learning and Teaching Centre at Macquarie University, Australia. Her research is focused on the nature of research and its relation to teaching, learning and scholarship, models of re- search-led teaching and undergraduate research. She has published over 200 articles and seven books including: The Nature of Research: Inquiry in Aca- demic Contexts (RoutledgeFalmer 2001); Research and Teaching: beyond the divide (PalgraveMacmillan 2006); and Academic Research and Researchers (McGraw Hill 2009, with Lucas). Email Kai-ming Cheng is Chair Professor of Education at the University of Hong Kong. He was Dean of Education, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Senior Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor. He did his doctoral study at the London Institute of Education, after teaching in schools for 15 years. He taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as Visiting...

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