Recently, as I began searching for a newsletter of a leading private airline, I felt the tremendous power of attraction of the commodification of schooling. Apart from listing food objects and beverages the airline sells for the customers, the e-newsletter consists of terrific ads from all sorts of private universities and institutes of technology and control.
It is exciting that all those education centers now have no hesitation in promoting their guides as a product with a massive cost for the corporate zone. The collaboration with ‘overseas universities,’ the ‘excessive rating’ as declared by a few companies, or the alternative, the ‘global’ college, and, mainly, the entice of ‘placement and package deal’ – the narratives of these ads advise that the meaning of education has changed notably. It seems the emergent middle elegance – guided by a mixture of technocratic rationality and market-pushed desires – is willing to buy this training.
At this vital juncture, the kids also use admissions in liberal/public universities like the University of Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University. These universities have now not given their ads within the newsletters of private airlines or on TV channels. Somehow, this assures an old school teacher like me; it makes me consider that even now, kids like to take admission in those locations because they recognize that the entirety that is ideal need no longer always be loud and sell itself as a packaged product. Or, to put it symbolically, studying an ebook using Romila Thapar in the JNU library or being stimulated using a professor at DU to investigate the perspectives of Andre Beteille and Amartya Sen on social inequality, has its very own splendor; it isn’t always like ordering a cup of heavily priced cappuccino in a non-public aircraft.
The trend toward absolute marketization of schooling is so dominant that it isn’t always easy to triumph over the anxiety about the very reason for growing up in a university. Is it feasible to convince the brand new era that there is something profound about the meaning of being educated, that it is beyond ‘skill gaining knowledge of’ and its intrinsic fee is immeasurable? As teachers and students, we may face massive challenges in this age – strictly dominated by education centers, buyers of ‘understanding’ and control about the rationality of ‘fulfillment’ and ‘productiveness’ – to store education.
Seeing through the ‘market-media-control’ conspiracy
I trust we must nevertheless try to set up the hyperlink between schooling and expertise. No, I am now not speaking of saintly or spiritual wisdom. By knowledge, I suggest the capability to distinguish natural desires from market-pushed greed, fact from propaganda, authenticity from cleverness, and inner splendor from outer packaging.
Students observe history and physics, biology and commerce, or literature and sociology; however, more frequently than not, bookish understanding stays outside one’s inner being; there may rarely be any politico-cultural or ethical churning. As teachers, we, too, somehow do the assigned ‘task,’ complete the syllabus, take the exam, and infrequently bother about the bridge that has to be built between concept and practice or studying and self-realization.
In truth, the power of the ‘marketplace-media-management’ alliance is so overwhelming that we tend to get carried away by propaganda equipment despite our university degrees. The market tells us that the entirety is a product; hence, unless your training sells, it has no price. The media enterprise bombards our minds, and ‘success’ is associated with cash, power, and glamour. Likewise, the management discourse believes in ‘productiveness,’ ‘measurable final results,’ and fancy packaging. Somehow, we tend to accept that a Bollywood star is more precious than, say, a poet; a Ph.D. in records is laughable, especially while a hotel control employee earns more fabulous than a professor; and a course in literary grievance or philosophy is a waste of time and resources if nothing ‘efficient’ can emerge out of these ‘subjective states of mind.
Yes, the ‘market-media-control’ narrative has created self-doubt even amongst otherwise touchy students and teachers. And this is horrifying. If the vital college disappears, and with low vanity, we submit earlier than this dominant fashion, what would stay of schooling? Techniques triumph; information vanishes. Or, no matter the degree in philosophy or political research, we’d hold to guide the cult of narcissism, the aggression of ecologically destructive improvement tasks, the militarization of human recognition, the normalization of violence in regular lifestyles, and the near affinity of cricket, Bollywood, politics and company homes. This is like being skilled to promote the repute quo.
However, in this age of mass consumption and violence, the horror of gross inequality and the glitz of affluence, and inner vacancy and outer glamour, we need to assert over and over that schooling needs to be skilled because the birthday celebration of all this is tremendous, existence-putting forward and actual. Yes, younger students are opportunities, and instructors (although the device wants to lessen them into mere ‘service vendors’) are catalysts. While they arrive together inside a dialogic courting shape, a revolution takes region within the lecture room. No fancy can capture the instant – what it way to observe Marx and Foucault, Gandhi and Illich, Eliot and Tagore, and Shankara and Sartre.
One dominant function of the regular training exercise is that we are orientated to gaining knowledge of the outer realm through a practical mix of ‘skills’ and instrumental understanding. In this whole workout, we are ruled by what I regard as the ‘engineering’ attitude; what is missing is the artwork of cultivating the learner’s inner international. It is feasible to have ‘professional’ scientists, techno-managers, and bureaucrats. However, our ordinary world can stay violent, toxic, and insensitive. And, despite the ‘abilities’ we learn, our inner world would possibly continue to be deserted and empty.