Review – THE DOUBLE CRISIS

On: September 20, 2010
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About Laila Koubia
From Dutch/Moroccan background // Female // BA in Communication and Multimedia Design // working experience in narrowcasting // freelance multimedia designer // MA New Media student at the UvA // ------ BA in Communication and Multimedia Design at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Worked three years as administrator of a narrowcasting system and editor in chief of a studentTV station [H/TV]. Since 2007 freelance multimedia designer at LK Design [lailakoubia.com]. Interest goes out to the use of media in non-western countries (particularly Arab countries), media ethics, media in education, media-art, surveillance…

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Crisis threatens education millions of children // U.S. schools in ‘category 5’ budget crisis // Crisis fears on university places // Europe’s Education Crisis: College Costs Soar // Students Protest Fee Hikes at California Campuses // Education in crisis // Argentina students decry apathy…

All around the world we see sounds of resistance coming from different universities: the graduate student struggles in Canada and the U.S., the occupations of the University of California, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Croatia: the student claims for freedom in Teheran and the conflicts for academic freedom in Africa. Also in The Netherlands: students demonstrating against the cuts on education and the abolition of the basic grant for students. Student unions like the LSVb (http://lsvb.nl) rising.
Can we save our educational system from a decline?

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The Double Crisis

The EduFactory is a transnational collective engaged with the transformation of the global university and conflicts in knowledge production. ‘The Double Crisis’ is a collection of articles discussing the problems of universities in the global economical crisis. Several writers from different disciplines discuss this matter in detail. The global university is discussed as a negative development within the education. ‘As once was the factory now is the University’; the university nowadays is seen from a business-like perspective with the corresponding negative consequences.

The problem in the current education sector lies in what is called the Double-crisis; the global economic crisis and the crisis of the university in ruins. Rossiter says in his article: ‘Higher education has not been immune to the impact of economic globalization’. As argued by Newfield the crisis is not over as the government, global elites and the media claim.  They just merely continuously adapt to a permanent crisis and therefore present the illusion that it’s over.
‘They (the business and political leaders) are containing and cheapening the research and educational systems on which they say the future of their economies depend’.
Newfield argues that we should not longer believe in the good intention of our leaders. ‘The political and business leaders of the knowledge economy seek a smaller elite of knowledge based star producers… They have full knowledge that they force knowledge out of its creative collective habitat.’Universities

EduFactory’s message is: ‘let’s build up a transnational network of struggles and resistance.  That is, an autonomous network to spread news and materials, to share texts of militant research among different struggles and temporalities, to organize ourselves within and against the global university’. The EduFactory is for the reestablishment of an autonomous university.
The articles in this issue however, in their attempt to provide a solution, remain hazy. They try to highlight emergent claims for new educational models but stay unclear. They stick to vague descriptions of possible solutions.

Because the zero issue consists out of several articles of different writers from different academic backgrounds the reader gets too much information concerning this issue from different disciplines. The main subject is clear but at the same time the reader can not get rid of the feeling of being lost in the several issues presented here. Each article discusses interesting aspects of the double-crisis, each one from a different perspective. But the links between the different articles are missing. At the same time because of its ‘diverse’ character it provides the reader with a broad spectrum concerning our education crisis.

A select group of people define what is important for the students to know. Students assume that with this knowledge they will be ready for the hard, difficult and especially challenging work that will be waiting for them. How vain is this consumption when they enter the work floor and find out it was just about obtaining a set of basic knowledge tools to become one of the million other dispensable employees. We (as students) just give in, we give in and accept that in the end it’s just about getting a paper that stands for a certain value. Just like with paper money: we all believe in the illusion that it’s worth something.

Offers interesting insights on how the the economic crisis affected and keeps affecting our universities. How our universities have been transformed from research institutes to institutes with the urge to achieve the most effective business models. But because the articles discuss several facets of this issue the reader eventually loses track of the magnitude of the problem.
The Double Crisis should therefore be seen as a collection of articles in the various disciplines of this knowledge economy debate and not as a clear statement with a conclusion and solution.

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