“Education and the Market Model” (1991) by Prof John McMurtry with Comments and Discussions

Abstract from: McMURTRY, J. (1991), Education and the Market Model. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 25: 209–217. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9752.1991.tb00642.x

ABSTRACT This paper analyses the underlying conflicts between the principles of education and the market. After identifying an international movement towards justifying excellence in education in terms of a goal external to education, namely “to compete effectively in the international marketplace”, the paper shows that: (i) this justification of education has been increasingly presupposed or prescribed by corporate, government and educational leaderships, and (ii) education as a social institution has been correspondingly subordinated to international market goals, including the language and self-conceptualization of educators themselves. The argument of the paper demonstrates that there are fundamental contradictions between the market and education models in terms of (1) Goals, (2) Motivations, (3) Methods and (4) Standards of Excellence. Counter-arguments to this analysis are presented, and replies are given. The article concludes that the long-term development of education and of civilization itself requires the autonomy of education from market command.

The full text from the following 5 articles have been dowloaded from https://journals.sfu.ca/pie/index.php/pie/search/search?query=mcmurtry
and have been collated together to facilitate study and understanding.

  1. McMurtry, J. (1991). Education and the market model. Paideusis, 5(1), 36–44.
  2. Barrett, R. (1991). Comment on “education and the market model.” Paideusis, 5(1), 45–49.
  3. Woodhouse, H. (1991). Contradicting the Market. Paideusis, 5(1), 50–52.
  4. McMurtry, J. (1992). Beyond Market Theology: Reply to Barrett and Woodhouse. Paideusis, 5(2), 34-38.
  5. Barrett, R. (1994). On the Liberty and Logic of McMurtry. Paideusis, 7(2), 25-27.

The following article by one of the commentators was dowloaded from: http://qspace.library.queensu.ca/bitstream/handle/1974/616/woodhouse.pdf

  1. Woodhouse, H. (2001). The Market Model of Education and the Threat to Canadian Universities. Encounters on Education Volume 2, Fall 2001 pp. 105–122.

The market model of education, which is enveloping Canadian universities, endangers the advancement and dissemination of shared knowledge as a public good. By reducing all knowledge to a private good, it fails to acknowledge that education has opposing goals, motivations, methods, and standards of excellence to those of the corporate market. Statements made by leading advocates of the market model exhibit a habitual tendency to expunge all evidence that does not serve the overriding goal of maximizing private money profits. When taken together, these characteristics suggest that the market model of education has become a totalizing moment in human affairs, which Canadian faculty and students must oppose if the university as a public institution is to survive.
Key Words: market model in education, higher education, Canadian universities

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