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Cait Storr @CaitStorr
, 7 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Look, I cannot abide the academic humblebrag and don't love talking about this stuff. But I just won the @unimelb Chancellor's Prize for my PhD thesis on the history of Nauru, imperialism and international law, so I'm going to take this opportunity to share some thoughts. THREAD!
1. Compared to other countries the Australian tertiary sector is relatively strong, partly thanks to our fee-paying international students. But tertiary education is in danger of being reduced to a consumer service; and academic research, to little more than paid consultancy.
2. Given the consultancy industry is itself at best a consumer service - and at worst an ethical bin fire (apologies, consultant friends) - this should be concerning to all who value reliable, independent and self-critical sources of information and ideas.
3. At the same time, tuition fees have risen to a point where it's entirely understandable that some students seem to believe they are buying a degree, and that academics exist to serve it up whole. Students have been forced to think of themselves as consumers of a product.
4. But despite all efforts to make it so, education is not a product. Education is a creative relationship. Students are not reducible to consumers, and academics are not reducible to service providers - any more than the planet we live on is reducible to an international market.
5. I don't claim to have answers to the structural problems the tertiary sector faces. These are of course reflective of fundamental structural problems at the global level. But history tells us the answers will not be found in the stultifying ideologies of market and nation.
6. So, in the meantime: thank you to the scholars who challenge us to think harder, the students who maintain genuine curiosity and hope, and the staff who make it possible. In contemporary Australia, choosing to recognise community in diversity is an act of political resistance.
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