An alternative to an alternative to an alternative to an alternative to an alternative…

11 Jul

The Third University would like to offer an alternative to the alternative higher education white paper presented by the campaign for the public university and associated campaign groups from University of Warwick, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University of Sussex. The third university recognises that the propose a white-paper, a bluepaper, a redpaper is to propose that there is a viable solution. That some individuals and some groups can provide solace for the rest of us. That there is a blueprint that will solve the issues within education (and society in general) through a set of step-by-step rules. We must be careful that we don’t run the risk of claiming ownership of ideas that might protect some but reject others. Similarly, by acknowledging the system of governance that already and has always dominated higher education (the fact that collectively we can refer to a notion of a ‘higher’ education, for instance)- and to defend aspects of a system that in its current guise, whatever that system might be is problematic.

The Third University likes Glenn Rikowski, because he has written about an education that is ‘in against and beyond’ capitalist education, and does not try to provide a white paper that we might all follow, but instead focuses on the social form of education and how it could be given the chance to develop over time. The thing is, there is no solutions, there is no end point. We are all part of an infinite processes (to form a society of human connections – to create value, social-labour power) – and at some key points we might learn something about ourselves and about each other. Those things might transform us to think differently – but it is hard when there are social structures in place to influence the importance of individual’s ideas and to allow us to compete/battle our ideas as a dominant mechanism of learning and sharing.

But we can’t govern that learning. We can’t govern those stories. We can’t force nor convince you to be part of the third university and we can’t promise that we will accomodate your ideas. You can only accomodate your own. And the third university might be the space to do that. And it might not. Create your own spaces and use each others. Or not.


3 Responses to “An alternative to an alternative to an alternative to an alternative to an alternative…”

  1. Gordon Asher July 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Yes indeed Richard – the proposal for an alternative white paper is interesting – but reads very much like a call for a return to the situation somepoint pre-Browne report (linked to a mythical notion of the historical/contemporary liberal university – which if, and to the extent it does, exist is not desirable?). – /2011/07/08/an-alternative-to-the-white-paper/ It situates itself very much within the mainstream, contemporary paradigm of both education and politics – rather than, as you suggest accepting that we are within this, yet working against and beyond it – working for a very different set of social relations.

    It does not seem to call for what is necessary – a radically different set of conceptions and understandings of learning, teaching, research, praxis aimed at transformation – at social (ecological, economic, political, cultural, kinship, psychological) justice?

    Education as – evolving understandings of ourselves, others, the word, the world, and the relationships between them, allied to an appreciation of our individual and collective agency, and oriented towards acting, in, and on, the world to change it for the better – in the interests of social justice? – critical conscientisation? or something like that?


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