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Education is more than just a job – an insight

Education has come to be understood solely as an economic good rather than a tool for social development. Education markets have been established following an instrumentalist approach that views education purely as an economic good and resource for prosperity.

This industry-oriented education approach was initially applied to vocational education and training. During the 1990s this approach expanded to higher education as neo-liberalism, in which economic growth was considered the only possible way of maintaining prosperity, took hold.

Industry-oriented education is an approach to learning, teaching and assessment that caters for the needs of industry, neglecting the multiple purposes of higher education as a public good and public responsibility which reflects the needs of society as a whole. It favours standardisation rather than harmonisation of diverse educational systems.

In this context, higher education is perceived as a knowledge industry, higher education institutions as service providers and students as consumers of education and human capital for the labour market. This approach reduces people to numbers and customers.

We need to draw fine lines between these two dimensions .