Saturday, October 11, 2008

With baited breath...

All on hold until the budget on Tuesday, after which the scale of the cutbacks will be evident to those of us in Irish Higher Education.  No doubt, we'll see a quick first thought from one President in University Diary. But for those staff who slave away into the evenings and weekends writing grant proposals, marking essays and working at the laboratory bench on contract posts, it's particularly anxious times.

One contributor to Comment is Free, makes an interesting point that a potential outcome of the world economic crisis for education is the opportunity to reject all the forcing of private enterprise and business into schools and the curriculum. What schools needed, according to the mantra, was to adopt a business ethos, sing the virtues of private enterprise and encourage students to look to the free market for inspiration. The new private partnership Academies were the beacons for the way ahead in England at least. Reality however has bitten and its quite clear that when the going gets tough, the bankers come crawling to the state for assistance. (By the way, I'm deliberately trying to see how many clichés I can fit into one sentence, in true blogging tradition, lest you wonder!)

Meanwhile, the debate on whether MBAs and Business School programmes should take some of the responsibility for the current economic situation has continued, particularly in the US, with some pointing the finger at such courses for ignoring ethical aspects and focussing on complex financial instruments and get-rich-quick approaches. The Times Higher commented on this a few weeks back, but now it's still buzzing around the US media.

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