Higher education and the common good

Wed, 18/01/2017 - 17:30 - 19:00

Book launch: Professor Simon Marginson argues that higher education has a key role in rebuilding social solidarity and mobility in fractured societies.

In the last half century higher education has moved from the fringe to the centre of society and accumulated a long list of functions. In the English-speaking world, Europe and much of East Asia more than two thirds of all school students enter tertiary education.

Bulging at the seams, universities are meant to be fountains of new knowledge, engines of prosperity and innovation, drivers of regional growth, skilled migration and global competitiveness, and makers of equality of opportunity.

Yet universities cannot drive prosperity on their own and they can do little to stop rising income inequality, which is shaped by taxation policy and income determination in the workplace. Worse, the growing emphasis on the private benefits of higher education, without regard for its public benefits, has positioned the higher education sector as elite forming, as a maker of social inequality rather than a corrective to it.

In short, governments expect both too much and too little of higher education, and its contribution to the common good is being eroded. Yet this sector can play a key role in rebuilding social solidarity and mobility in fractured societies.

Higher education and the common good is published by Melbourne University Press (MUP), and is available in hardback, paperback and as an e-book.

Reserve your place here

Drinks will be served

Venue: Clarke Hall, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way,London,WC1H 0AL

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