“Not Economically Viable”? Why care!

Comment piece by Kev

“It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”

– The Art of War, Sun Tzu

Looking at the reports from the march against GU cuts I feel saddened that every comment defends courses in terms of their commercial viability and monetary worth. The arts are valuable because they produce “work ready graduates, able to transfer skills across many sectors”[1]. Foreign languages need to be saved as they “create trade with other countries”[2]. Nurses hold aloft banners promoting their employment rate and profitability[3].

The problem is that we have already lost the argument on commercial and financial grounds – after all these are “tough times”, “we are all in this together” and “hard decisions must be made for greater recovery”. Trying to argue on commercial grounds belittles the non-commercial nature of a university.

Courses should be defended on the basis that they enrich and improve our society. Learning should be held aloft without the need for market viability. We have to stop price-tags being placed on the priceless.

I started with a quote from Sun Tzu and I’ll end it with two video’s I feel are apt. Enjoy:

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/feb/16/glasgow-university-protest-proposed-cuts

(By Kev)

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5 Responses to “Not Economically Viable”? Why care!

  1. Eleanor says:

    superb. both videos succinctly express that eerie feeling of speciousness that i felt emanating from the commentary on the cuts, as pointed out in this article – arguing on their terms as Stewart Lee says… Defending the courses in terms of their profitability is completely understandable but I think it’s vital to include mention of the inherent value that Stewart refers to in the video also…

  2. Pingback: “Not Economically Viable”? Why care! (via the Free Hetherington) « Recession Dodge to Victory

  3. Sarah says:

    It IS worthwhile to point out things like the nursing course’s employability and respected position, because the facts completely undermine the lies being put out by management.

    If anything that serves to highlight the ideological nature of it, which is based purely on profit and not on the multitude of other things which make training nurses worthwhile.

    However, I agree with you, those figures are useful but they shouldn’t be the thrust of the campaign, which should be united around the principles of free and socially useful education

  4. Sarah says:

    * sorry, meant to say based on pure profit AND undermining both courses which make people think and question society, like humanities, and courses which help keep the welfare state going, like nursing

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