This work examines the philosophy underpinning current higher education provision. Contemporary culture seems to encourage consumers to purchase products where the product is shaped by the provider and the input of the consumer is very limited. Research suggests that students, their perceptions shaped by the educational experience they have undergone, view education as a commodity and require that information be packaged for easy consumption. The purpose of this study is to examine the current situation in education against the backdrop of an emerging trend that sees education as a product and students as consumers or customers.The literature provides a basis to argue that a qualification now is frequently a simulacrum while previously it represented knowledge and competency. The study is an international one carried out through surveys and interviews with students and lecturers. The findings, strengthened by reliability and significance tests, provide overwhelming support for the hypothesis that encapsulation is an emerging and worrying trend.
Deirdre McArdle-Clinton is Lecturer at Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland.
Preface; Part 1; Introduction; Chapter 1 Modernism, Postmodernism and Higher Education; Chapter 2 The Packaging of Education - Education as Oppression; Chapter 3 Education Systems - Education as an Industry; Chapter 4 Naming the Industry's Products - Education Terminologies; Chapter 5 Postmodern Consumer Culture - The Effect on Education; Chapter 6 Measuring the Grade and Quality of Education; Chapter 7 Education - agent for social placement; Chapter 8 From Masefield to massification; Part 2; Chapter 9 The Consumer Experience of Higher Education; Chapter 10 The Testimony of Teachers; Chapter 11 The Testimony of Students; Part 3; Chapter 12 Reflections; Chapter 13 An Alternative View; Chapter 14 Exploring the Metaphor; Chapter 15 A Compromise Proposal; Bibliography.