The first Discourse derives from a national government regulatory framework that promotes notions of a market economy for higher education, and is illustrated by the White Paper explaining the newly-introduced Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) for England (Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, 2016). The second derives from a movement of academics and researchers seeking to ‘open up’ higher education globally. For this I refer to an advisory report on opening up education by the European Union’s Joint Research Centre (Inamorato Dos Santos, Punie, & Muñoz, 2016). Both documents present frameworks for enhancing HE. The language used in the White Paper is typical of neoliberal discourse in higher education management internationally (McLean & Ashwin, 2017), whilst the Opening Up Education Framework is typical of the discourse of academics in the open education movement.
Both Discourses address many of the same issues, such as the need to ‘widen participation’ in higher education. However, each Discourse portrays a very different set of underlying values and assumptions. Based on an analysis of the documents, this paper addresses the following questions:
- To what extent does the Discourse of groups arguing for a market-driven approach to higher education overlap with, or diverge from, that of groups who are seeking to open up education?
- What can we deduce from this about how close or how far apart these groups are in terms of their underlying values and assumptions?
- What opportunities, and what challenges, are implied by these two Discourses for HEIs that wish to both comply with market-economy type regulations and open up education?
Participants will be invited to engage with the presenter and with one another by contributing their own ideas in answer to the third question, using Padlet.
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. 2016. Success as a knowledge economy: teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice. London: Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/523546/bis-16-265-success-as-a-knowledge-economy-web.pdf
Gee, J.P. (2014). How to do Discourse Analysis: A Toolkit 2nd edition, Abingdon: Routledge.
Inamorato Dos Santos, A., Punie, Y., & Muñoz, J. C. (2016). Opening up Education: a Support Framework for Higher Education Institutions. Seville: Joint Research Centre, European Union. https://doi.org/10.2791/293408
McLean, M. & Ashwin, P. (2017). The Quality of Learning, Teaching and Curriculum. In New Languages and Landscapes of Higher Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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