n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Vryheid en idee : Beurtsang vir die universiteit

Volume 56 Number 4-1
  • ISSN : 0041-4751



The economisation of universities includes processes like the commodification and commercialisation of knowledge as well as the corporatisation of the institutional structure and authority hierarchy of universities. The reasons given for this economisation are that it will make universities major participants in the economic growth of nations or simply enable them to survive financially. The question however, is whether this economisation will indeed serve the economic health of higher education. South Africa, with its 2015 student revolt against tuition fees that are too high, looks like a case in point where economisation had the opposite effect. Moreover, economisation is instrumental in eradicating the definitive distinction between universities and economic institutions, as well as eroding the age-old idea of academic freedom. On a deeper level of evaluation, the economic aspect of universities seems to have become the battle ground for modern ideas about human freedom and compelling forces. Hence the question of this paper: Where is the battle for the soul of the university between the forces of economisation and freedom taking us, and where should we be taken?

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