simplified

Of course, capturing an entire eeast history, present time and future development in one sentence, or even in three, cannot tell everything. Still, the following three sentences from an article in the Times Higher Education surely say  lot, making clear what we mean, when we speak about neo-colonialisation and when Rosa Luxemburg presented her thoughts on the ‘inner colonilisation’:

In the aftermath of colonialism, the development of higher education was characterised by publicly funded national universities. However, while the number of public universities in the region doubled from approximately 100 to nearly 200 between 1990 and 2007, the rate of growth in the private sector in recent decades has been much faster. According to the 2009 World Bank report Accelerating Catch-up: Tertiary Education for Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of private universities and colleges, including for-profit and not-for-profit institutions, mushroomed from 24 to an estimated 468 over the same period.

Three things may be added, the first referring to another article from the same source, simply outlining the catastrophic consequences of public “savings” in Higher Education, undermining quality.

The second is an “offer” from a famous publisher of (High Ranking) journals:

Throughout October and November, we’re providing a number of great offers around Open Access Week, including discounts on article publishing charges (APCs) for over 35 journals, and a chance to win one of eight APC credits, meaning you can publish your article OA for free.

So we are doing the work for free as authors (and peer reviewers and colleagues discussing issues), then we are expected to pay for publishing and finally publishers make a special offer:

This month we your rate of exploitation is reduced.

Is this already the result of lowering educational standards? “We at T&F think you are so dumb that you will not see how we are fooling you.” Sure, the other point is that the invasion of the body snatchers, the kraken of inner colonisation moved already so far that we apparently do not have much choice.

Well, coming to the fourth issue then – this is a personal one. To be precise the experience a friend mentioned the other day  – and I sincerely hope and believe my dear friend does not object to finding his words here. So, look at his report from a recent visit to the library, after not having been there for a while:

I was shocked and nearly cried!
NO JOURNALS.
Along the wall there were maybe 30 journals that looked like
decoration.. The room was filled with
tables where you can plug in your computer.
Oh, I long for the days that I would spend hours browsing through
journals that were on the shelves.  I would go once every three
months to catch up on what was going on in sociology, political science,
policy and economics.  Not one journal.
I found more good articles to read by accident, browsing, than those I
came specifically to read.  No surprises any more. The academic
experience is utilitarian.

In a way you may see the following as part of a “personal countermovement”. I donated the books that remained from a larger personal collection in order to make them publicly available. I am waiting currently for the press release and will post it here as soon as I receive it. And I how it will a place where readers find books by accident, where they find surprises that stimulate and enhance free research.

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