SRHE keynote Professor Philip H Altbach and many presentations addressed the marketization of education, that education is a product that consumers buy, rather than a process that learners are involved in over time. Some papers from the Higher education policy strand of the conference one study explored student’s attitudes towards education with the introduction of fees.
Students are more conscious of return on investment, employability issues after they graduate, how employable they will be and how much money they will earn. I think that this fee charging model has forced students to consider themselves as consumers rather than active participants in a learning process. To counteract this perhaps we need to introduce more conversation into educational programmes about what education means to students, rather than thinking of filling a pail, it is about lighting a fire, where lifelong learning and an active participant approach is inspired.