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Tag Archives: Marketisation in Education




A new book edited by Ravi Kumar

Aakar Books




Praise for the volume:

‘The book presents a set of papers that illuminate in profound ways how the wide-angle historical frames provided by Marxist analysis facilitate our understanding of the details embedded in national and more local educational contexts. Neoliberalism attacks human dignity. The consequences of social, economic, and educational policies that exacerbate inequality, magnify exploitation, and undermine personal and social freedoms are clearly analyzed by each of the contributors. The circumstances are dire and readers will most certainly be outraged as they learn how neoliberal policies and practices reduce the process of education to a commodity and teachers and learners to elements in formula for the relentless production of profit. This volume presents a clear and compelling analysis of how neoliberal thought and practice has transformed education at the policy level in India and in the process distorted the official aims of education as well as social relations among teachers and learners. Most importantly, however, these chapters provide insights into how we might channel our rage against neoliberal capitalist mechanisms into the creation of new visions of resistance to educational practices that privilege profits over people.’

E. Wayne Ross, University of British Columbia


‘Editor Ravi Kumar has assembled the finest scholarship to investigate key questions in regard to the relationship of the development of modern capitalism, its connections to empire, the role of the state, and the resulting impact on education. The essays within go to the core: what is valued as “knowledge” now? Who shall schools serve? Indeed: Why have school? The critical reader will find new questions, and profound answers.’

Rich Gibson, Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University, USA


Ravi Kumar teaches at the Department of Sociology, South Asian University, New Delhi.

Editor, South Asia, The Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies
Blog: Reflections

Recent book: Education, State and Market: Anatomy of Neoliberal Impact

Forthcoming: Social Movements: Transformative Shifts and Turning Points




1.  Education, State, and Market: Anatomy of Neoliberal Impact: An Introduction
Ravi Kumar

2.  Changing Discourses on Inequality and Disparity: From Welfare State to Neoliberal Capitalism
Vikas Gupta

3.  The Story of Dismantling of Higher Education in India: The Unfolding Crisis
G. Haragopal

4.  Commoditizing Higher Education: The Assault of Neoliberal Barbarism
Madhu Prasad

5.  Caught between ‘Neglect’ and a Private ‘Makeover’: Government Schools in Delhi
Radhika Menon

6.  The Language Question: The Battle to Take Back the Imagination
Harjinder Singh ‘Laltu’

7.  Constitution of Language: Neoliberal Practices in Multi-lingual India
Samir Karmakar

8.  A Relevant Economics for India: Dark Past, Bleak Future
Rajesh Bhattacharya

9.  Mapping the Changes in Legal Education in India
Srinivas Burra

10.  Countering Neoliberal Conception of Knowledge, Building Emancipatory Discourse: A Historical Overview of Phule-Ambedkar’s Critique and Gandhian Nai Taleem
Anil Sadgopal

11.  A Dialogue for Mass Movement for Democratic Education System
D. Ramesh Patnaik

12.  Afterword: Narratives of Resistance: The Case of Struggle for a Common School System in Tamil Nadu
Prince Gajendra Babu


Notes on Contributors



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Education Crisis

Education Crisis


Call for Papers

This is a stream of the London Conference in Critical Thought 2013

For full details on the conference, see:

Stream organiser: Joyce Canaan


Numerous critical authors have recently observed that higher education is: in ‘crisis’ (Thorpe 2008); under ‘assault’ (Bailey and Freedman 2011); at its ‘end’ (Vernon 2010) or ‘in ruins’ (Readings 1996). These observations capture critical academics’ efforts to evaluate how processes of privatisation, marketisation and financialisation have impacted northern and southern university systems during the past 40 years and have led to a nearly ‘complete subordination of intellectual life to instrumental values and, most brutally, to the measure of money’ (Thorpe 2008).

Recent resistance to government policies on university has taken two forms: student-led demonstrations, occupations and actions and the emergence of ‘free’ or ‘alternative’ universities. This stream seeks to explore the latter, less explored alternatives, guided by Brown’s (2005:5) observation that the concept of critique comes from the Greek word ‘krisis’, used to explain the processes of ‘judging and rectifying an alleged disorder in or of the democracy’. The contemporary meaning of critique as ‘temporal rupture and repair’ (2005:7) contains elements of this earlier meaning; it entails and presumes a certain urgency to reconsider and rebuild, or to create an alternative to, that which has been torn asunder. Critique might also benefit from insights from historical materialism. Brown (2005:13), building on Benjamin, notes that the historical materialist reroutes ‘by rethinking the work of history in the present, stilling time to open time’. Stilling the seeming inevitability of the trajectory from past to present opens up the present and past to: ‘act[s] of reclamation’, re-viewing and thereby potentially reworking for a more emancipatory future.

Papers for this stream are thus asked to explore how emergent alternative universities today can be seen to operate as acts of reclamation—and might do so more effectively in future. Questions for consideration include:

  • What perceived limits of the public university impel a group to build an alternative?
  • Which theoretical and activist traditions inform their project?
  • What vision(s) of critical theory and/or historical materialism guide them?
  • What understandings of critical education shape their efforts to overcome/avoid perceived limits to the public university?
  • What theories of radical pedagogy inform their practices?
  • To what degree do insights from social movement theories and practices inform their theories / practices? And, in addition, contribute to the social movement literature?
  • What kinds of spaces do they seek to meet, teach and act in? Why?
  • How do they negotiate problems? What theories and practices inform these negotiations?
  • What are their strategies for reaching others as teaching and/or researching partners and how effective are they?
  • How central is praxis to their project?

Please send abstracts for 20-minute papers to with the subject as: ‘Higher Education Submission’.



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A paper on the crisis in higher education, by Glenn Rikowski:

Rikowski, G. (2012) Life in the Higher Sausage Factory, Guest Lecture to the Teacher Education Research Group, The Cass School of Education and Communities, University of East London, 22nd March, online at:

For more on this paper, see:

Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory

Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory







Date: Saturday 1st December 2012

Venue: Reay School, Hackford Road,

Lambeth, London SW9 0EN (near Oval Tube)

Time: 10.00am – 3.00pm. Lunch provided


Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council

Sue Palmer, ECA (Early Childhood Action) and author of Toxic Childhood and 21st Century Boys

Katie Mitchell OBE, Associate Director of National Theatre

John Coe, National Association of Primary Education (NAPE)

Judy Ellerby, NUT principal officer for Primary Schools

Jess Edwards, Primary School music teacher

More speakers to be confirmedMalevolent Pixie

Key debates and workshops to include:

How do we solve the shortage of school places in London schools? London’s children need 90,000 additional primary school places by 2015/16.

Will the new Primary curriculum take us back to the 1950s? The Coalition government is proposing wide ranging reform to the curriculum including phonics testing and other rote learning approaches.

How do we get a more creative curriculum? Teachers and parents know that what really inspires our children is a creative curriculum that builds their cultural and emotional level.

How will cuts in breakfast clubs and other support services affect our children? Cuts in essential services such as EMA grants and cuts to benefits see our most vulnerable children suffer.

Will the ‘free market’ in education deliver higher standards? The Coalition government claims academies and free schools are the answer to raising standards and tackling social inequality.

Do we still need a ‘middle tier’? The role of Local Authorities in education is also under intense pressure. Austerity cuts and the emergence of private providers are changing the nature of local democratic accountability.

Organised by Lambeth Teachers’ Association in association with others

Please email to register for a place or for more information

Online Registration:

Conference website, including downloadable flyer:


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‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski:

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Glenn Rikowski’s paper, Critical Pedagogy and the Constitution of Capitalist Society has been published at Heathwood Press as a Monthly Guest Article for September 2012, online at:

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Education Crisis


SRHE Access and Widening Participation Network

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Registration 12.30

Programme 1.00 – 4.00pm

SRHE, 73 Collier St, LondonN1 9BE

Widening Participation: Professional Practices and Identities

Little attention has been paid to the production of new professional identities and practices in higher education as part of the widening participation (WP) policy agenda. Jones and Thomas argue that WP practitioners tend to work on the periphery of universities, in separate centres and outside of academic faculties and departments (Jones and Thomas 2005). Burke (2012) argues that questions of identity matter in terms of power relations within institutions and the constructions of (lack of) authority that might facilitate or impede processes of change and transformation. This seminar draws on research to explore the spaces in which those with specific responsibility for WP work, and the implications of the roles, practices and identities of WP professionals for WP in higher education.

Working in a Third Space

Dr Celia Whitchurch, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Education, University of London

Widening participation professionals find themselves working in spaces that involve partnership with multiple stakeholders including, for instance, students, parents, schools, tertiary providers, employers, and regional and national agencies. Their roles can encompass broadly based projects such as student life, community partnership and institutional research. They therefore develop an appreciation of wide-ranging agendas relating to patterns of recruitment, learning support, outreach, welfare and employability.  In this sense they can be seen as working in what Whitchurch has termed a Third Space between academic and professional spheres of activity  (Whitchurch 2008, 2012). This has implications for understandings of, for instance, organisational relationships, sources of legitimacy, and career development. The session will draw on two studies funded by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education to consider the challenges that arise for both individuals and institutions from these extended roles and identities, and ways in which such challenges might be addressed.

Stratification, marketisation and social inequalities: Institutional approaches to widening participation in higher education

Pauline Whelan (Centre for Social and Educational Research across the Life Course, LeedsMetropolitanUniversity)

In this talk, I contextualise institutional approaches to widening participation within an increasingly stratified and marketised English higher education system.  I present a series of visualisations of widening participation ‘performance’ data from all higher education institutions in England for the period 2002-2010, focusing on how institutional widening participation ‘performances’ have varied across mission groups and by institutional type.  While quantitative differences in institutional widening participation ‘performances’ tell revealing stories about institutional diversity, they also illuminate the problems of existing datasets and modes of accountability.  Turning from critical statistics to critical discourse analysis, I present an analysis of official widening participation documentation from 18 universities in England and discuss how institutions have variously adopted and rejected elements of national widening participation discourses, policies and philosophies.  Insights from the quantitative and qualitative analyses are used to conceptualise the variation in institutional approaches to widening participation and to consider the implications for social inequalities in higher education.

Event booking details

To reserve a place at this seminar please register at: or telephone +44 (0) 207 427 2350.

SRHE events are open to all and free to SRHE members as part of their membership package. The delegate fee for non-members is £45. Non-members wishing to join the Society may do so at the time of registration and the delegate fee will be waived. Please note that places must be booked in advance and that a £45 for non-attendance will be charged if a place has been reserved but no notice of cancellation/non-attendance has been given in advance.

Yours sincerely

Francois Smit, SRHE Event Manager, Society for Research into Higher Education, 73 Collier Street, London N1 9BE, Telephone 0207 427 2350, Fax number 0207 278 1135,


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