Critical Perspectives on Theory, Policy and Practice
Part Two Models and Policies
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In broad terms higher education has always served three social functions. It has enabled some individuals to develop their abilities and interests to a high level. It has provided well-educated people to serve and reproduce powerful groups in society, the emperor and his court in ancient China, the medieval church in Europe, the nation states which emerged in more recent centuries and, some would say, global capitalism today. Third, there has also always been a subsidiary public function which has grown in importance from the time of the eighteenth ‘enlightenment’, the capacity to act as well-informed and intelligent prophets, explorers and critics of existing societies. These functions are the core of the public and private roles of universities, the advancement of individuals and collective sustainability and progress.
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