An Examined Life Critical Thinking And Ethics Today Pdf 2017
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- Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research, fourth edition (2018)
- THE USES OF PHILOSOPHY IN EVERYDAY LIFE
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- Critical Thinking
Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research, fourth edition (2018)
Higher education institutional and policy dynamics differ across time, but also between countries and political regimes and therefore context cannot be neglected. This article reviews the purpose of higher education and its institutional characteristics juxtaposing two, allegedly rival, conceptual frameworks; the instrumental and the intrinsic one. Since, higher education cannot be seen as detached from all other lower levels of education appropriate conceptual links are offered throughout this article.
Its significance lies on the organic synthesis of literature across social science, suggesting ways of going forward based on the traditions that already exist but seem underutilized so far because of overdependence in market-driven practices.
The debate on the purpose of higher education is placed under the context of the most recent developments of increasing social inequalities in the western world and its relation to the mass model of higher education and the relevant policy decisions for a continuous increase in participation.
This article suggests that the current policy focus on labor market driven policies in higher education have led to an ever growing competition transforming this social institution to an ordinary market-place, where attainment and degrees are seen as a currency that can be converted to a labour market value.
Education has become an instrument for economic progress moving away from its original role to provide context for human development. As a result, higher education becomes very expensive and even if policies are directed towards openness, in practice, just a few have the money to afford it.
A shift toward a hybrid model, where the intrinsic purpose of higher education is equally acknowledged along with its instrumental purpose should be seen by policy makers as the way forward to create educational systems that are more inclusive and societies that are more knowledgeable and just.
The mainstream view in the western world, as informed by the human capital theory sees education, as an ordinary investment and the main reason why someone consumes time and money to undertake higher levels of education, is the high returns expected from the corresponding wage premium, when enters the labour market Becker, , Nevertheless, things in practice are more complicated and this sequence of events is unlikely to be sustained, especially in recession periods like the one we currently live in.
There might be an economic basis underpinning this individual choice, but the intrinsic notion permits more subjective motivations, which are not necessarily affected by economic circumstances. Robinson and Aronica argue that education, have become an impersonal linear process, a type of assembly line, similar to a factory production. They challenge this view and call for a less standardised pedagogy; more personalised to students needs as well as talents.
Education is not similar to a manufacturing production-line, since students are highly concerned about the quality of education they receive as opposed to motor cars, which are indifferent to the process by which they are manufactured.
Durkheim , sees this as a mechanism where adults exercise their influence over the younger in order to maintain the status quo they desire. This article focus on higher education; since it is the last stage before somebody enters the labour market and thus the instrumental view becomes more dominant over the intrinsic view, compared to the lower levels of education. Higher education, is being traditionally offered by universities. Graham distinguishes between three different models of higher education.
These are: the university college, the research and the technical university. He provides a historical review of the origins of these three models. The university college is the oldest one, where Christian values were the core values. Later on, when scientific knowledge questioned the universal theological truth, another type of university has been established, where research was the ultimate goal of the scholarship.
This type of university has subsequently transformed by the introduction of the liberal arts tradition, flourished in the US. The research university model, originated circa 16 th century in Cambridge and established in Berlin by the introduction of the Humboldian University, shared a common aim: the pursuit of knowledge and its dissemination to the greater society. The third model of university is the technical one.
It has been established in an industrial revolution context in Scotland and particularly in Glasgow in the premises of what is currently known as the University of Strathclyde. While the introduction of capitalism changed radically the structure and the format of labour relations, the technical model was based on the idea that industrial skills had to be acquired by formal education and somehow verified institutionally in order to be applied to the broader society.
This is the first time where the up to then distinct fields of education and industry, started to be conceived as inextricably tight in a rather linear way. These different models of higher education cultures and traditions still exist, but in reality, Universities worldwide follow a hybrid approach, where all traditions collaborate with each other. However, there are some universities that still carry the reputation and tradition of a specific model and to some extent this tradition differentiates them from all others.
It is not the scope of this research to analyse this in detail, as the main aim is to offer an institutional and policy narrative, exploring the purpose of higher education and its relationship with social inequalities, focusing primarily on the western world. Nowadays, in a rapidly changing word, the major debate is placed under the forms of institutional transformation of higher education.
Brennan , based on Trow , , allocates three forms of higher education. The first one is the elite form, which main aim is to prepare and shape the mind-set of students originated from the most dominant class. The second is the mass form of higher education, which transmits the knowledge and skills acquired in higher education into the technical and economic roles students subsequently perform in the labour market. Lastly, the third is the universal form, which main purpose is to adapt students and the general population to the rapid social and technological changes.
This article reviews the contemporary trends in higher education and its widespread diffusion as interacted with the evolutions in western economies and societies, where social inequalities persist and even become wider Dorling and Dorling, The narrative used in this article is more suitable to conceptualise higher education in a western world context, though we acknowledge that via globalisation, the way education and particularly higher education is delivered in the rest of the world seems to follow similar to the Western worlds paths, despite the apparent differences in culture, social and economic systems as well as writing systems.
Footnote 1. An interdisciplinary and critical synthesis of the relevant literature is conducted, presenting two stances that are largely considered as rival: The instrumental one that treats higher education as an ordinary investment with particular financial yields in the labour market and the more intrinsic one which sees higher education as mainly detached from the logic of economic costs and benefits.
The theoretical rivalry is apparent since in the former approach higher education is an inevitable property of labour market and thus an indispensable part of the mainstream economic neoliberal regime, whereas the latter sees no logical link between higher education and labour market purposes and therefore the content and substance of learning and knowledge acquisition in education and specifically in higher education should not be market-driven or aligned to the functions of specific economic regimes.
However, this article argues that educational systems, and particularly their higher levels, are amalgamated parts of contemporary societies and therefore theories and practices need to move away from rather futile binary rationales. The remainder of this paper explains why both the intrinsic and instrumental approaches are doomed to fail in practice when used in isolation. In a rapidly diverging and polarised world, where social inequalities rise within as well as between countries, common sense dictates social theories and practices to move towards reconciliation rather than stubborn rivalry.
In that spirit, this paper argues that the intrinsic and instrumental approach are in fact complementary to each other. Such view can inform policy making towards building more inclusive educational systems; organically tight with the broader society. The narrative this article uses departs and expands on the rationale of eminent critical pedagogists such as Freire, Bronfenbrenner, Bourdieu and Kozol in order to challenge the current instrumental world-view of education, at least as this is apparent in the western world.
Then the article moves into offering a reasoning for an organic synthesis of existing knowledge in order the two rival theories to be actualised in practice as a unified and reconciled pedagogical strategy. Payne proposes a similar approach, where students are equipped with the necessary tools to find a job in the labour market; however educators should engage students with this knowledge in a critical way in order to be able to produce something new.
Likewise Lu and Horner note that educators and students need to work together in such a way that perceptions of both are amenable to change and career choices are critically discussed in a constantly changing social context. Mokyr suggests that education should be integrated by both inculcation and emancipation in order to serve individual intellectual development as well as social progression.
Shapiro emphasizes the need for the higher education institutions to serve a public purpose moving beyond narrow self-serving concerns, as well as to enforce social change in order to reflect the nature of a society that its members desire.
The purpose of education and its meaning in the contemporary western societies has been also criticised by Bo , suggesting that education has become a contradictory notion that leaves no space for emancipation since it gives no opportunity for improvisation to students.
Thus, the students feel encaged within the system instead of being liberated. Bo agrees with Mokyr, who highlighted the need for recalling the basic notions of education from ancient philosophies: that education should be integrated by both inculcation and emancipation in order to serve individual intellectual development as well as social progression Mokyr, ; Bo, Not all individuals and societies agree on the purposes and roles of higher education in the modern world.
However, in any case, it is a place where teaching and research can be accommodated in an organised fashion for the promotion of various types of knowledge, applied and non-applied. The post-WWII era has been characterised by the mass model of higher education. Before this, higher education was for those belonging to higher social classes Brennan, This model became the kernel of educational policies in Europe and generally, in the western world Shapiro, Such policies have been boosted by the advent of Information and Communication Technologies ICT , which enhance commercial and non-commercial bonds between countries and higher education institutions, transforming the role of higher education even further, making it rather universal Jongbloed et al.
Higher education institutions are now characterised by economic competition in a strict global market environment, where governments are not the key players anymore Brennan, Moreover, student demographics in higher education are constantly changing.
Higher education is now an industry operating in a global market. Competition to attract talents from around the world is growing rapidly as an increasing number of countries offer additional graduate and post graduate positions to non-nationals, usually at a higher cost compared to nationals Barber et al.
Countries such as China or Singapore that are growing economically very rapidly are investing huge amounts of money to develop their higher education system and make it more friendly to talented people from around the world. The advent of new technologies have changed the traditional model of higher education, where physical presence is not a necessary requirement anymore Yuan et al. Studying while working is much easier and therefore more mature students have now the opportunity to study towards a graduate or post-graduate degree.
All these developments have increased the potential for profit; however it also requires huge amount of money to be invested in new technologies and all kinds of infrastructures and resources. The need for diversification in funding sources is simply essential and therefore all other industries become inevitably more engaged Kaiser et al.
On top of all these, climate change, the rise of terrorism, the prolonged economic uncertainty and the automazation of labour will likely increase cross-national and intraoccupational mobility and therefore the demand for higher education, especially in the recipient countries of the economically developed western world will inevitably rise.
Summing up, higher education institutions operate under a very fluid and unpredictable environment and therefore approaches that are informed by adaptability and flexibility are absolutely crucial.
The hybrid approach we propose where instrumental and intrinsic values are reconciled is along these lines. Modern views of higher education place its function under a digital knowledge-based society, where economy dominates. Labour markets demand for skills such as technological competence and complex problem-solving by critical thinking and multitasking, which increases competition and in turn, accelerates the pace of the working day Westerheijden et al.
Haigh and Clifford argue that high competency, in both hard and soft skills, is not enough, as higher education needs to go deeper into changing attitudes and behaviours becoming the core of a globalised knowledge-based-economy.
Livingstone argues that education and labour market have different philosophical departures and institutional principles to fulfill and therefore conceptualising them as concomitant economic events, with strong causal conjunctions, leads to logical fallacies. Livingstone sees the intrinsic purposes of education and contemporary labour market as rather contradictory than complimentary and any attempt to see them as the latter, leads to arbitrary and ambiguous outcomes, which in turn mislead rather than inform policy making.
When education, and especially higher education, is considered as a public social right that everyone should have access to, human capital, as solely informed by the investment approach, cannot be seen as the most appropriate tool to explain the benefits an individual and society can gain from education.
Bourdieu, ; Coleman, Footnote 2 For example, Bourdieu thinks that certificates and diplomas are neither indications of academic or applied to the labour market knowledge, nor signals of competences but rather take the form of tacit criteria set by the ruling class to identify people from a particular social origin.
Yet, Bourdieu does not disregard the human capital theory as invalid; however he remains very sceptical on its narrow social meaning as it becomes a property of ruling class and used as a mechanism to maintain their power and tacitly reproduce social inequalities. Capabilities, certainly, exist in and out of this context, as it includes both innate traits and acquired skills in a dynamic social environment. Moreover, Sen argues that capabilities should not be seen only as a means for succeeding a certain goal, but rather as an end itself Sen, ; Saito, ; Walker and Unterhalter, Capabilities are a prerequisite of well-being and therefore, social institutions should direct people into fulfilling this aim in order to feel satisfied with their lives.
However, since satisfaction is commonly understood as a subjective concept, it cannot be implied that equal levels of life satisfaction, as these perceived by people of different demographic and socio-economic characteristics, mean social and economic equality. Usually, the sense of life satisfaction is relative to future expectations, aspirations and past empirical experiences, informed by the socio-economic circumstances people live in Saito, According to the capability approach, assessing the educational attainment of individuals or the quality of teachers and curriculum are not such useful tasks, if not complemented by the capacity of a learner to convert resources into capabilities.
It also remains sceptical towards structuralist and post-structruralist approaches, which support the dominance of institutional settings and power over the individual acts. According to Sen , , educational outcomes, as these are measured by student enrolments, their performance on tests or their expected future income, are very poor indicators for evaluating the overall purpose of education, related to human well-being.
It also implies that education, can be detrimental, imposing severe life-long disadvantages to individuals and societies, if delivered poorly Unterhalter, , Even if someone attempts an interpretation of the capability approach by arguing that it is only means that have an instrumental value, whereas ends only an intrinsic one, it is still unclear how can we draw a line between means and ends in a rather objective way.
Escaping from this rather dualistic interpretation, a common-sense argument seems apparent: Capabilities have both intrinsic and instrumental value.
THE USES OF PHILOSOPHY IN EVERYDAY LIFE
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