The Changing Status of Higher Education in the 'Moronic Inferno'

Melissa Johnson Morgan, Joanne Finkelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Getting a good and relevant education is difficult enough to achieve within a context where social and economic needs are constantly unsettled by political policy. The public funding of the education sector has become a contested arena irrespective of a government's ideology. Recent graduates from various disciplines from Town Planning to Philosophy report in university destination surveys that they have only found employment in areas unrelated to their academic training ' for instance, in supermarkets, restaurants and other low-level service industries. How has it happened that the universalisation of mass higher education has contributed to a disconnect between the individual's social aspirations and their economic status? What happened to the tacit promise that an extended period of intellectual development would prepare the individual for a life of valuable social contribution and financial security? Part of the answer lies in the success of higher education itself. Its popularity has changed its transformative capacity and allowed operational efficiencies to overrule academic quality. The university, ideally seen as a repository of intellectual intuition, has been remade into yet another modern corporation concerned with the bottom line and financial security. Why has it been necessary to remake the university in the image of the department store, supermarket or bank, and how has it been achieved without more critique?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalPerspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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