Generating Nontrivial Knowledge in Awkward Situations
The lack of trust that the political establishment shows toward higher education in the United Kingdom, like that toward public sector employees more broadly, is not just causing problems of morale but taking up scarce resources and staff energies. They are designed to increase public scrutiny of universities and to help funding bodies allocate public resources in order to encourage productivity. The architects of education policy must know that knowledge is and always has been about complexity and variety, but these things get sidelined in the short-term goals of corporation-friendly government. The Blair government’s questionable goal of increasing student numbers to 50 percent of the age group and the lack of new investments and teaching posts are the most obvious causes of complaint. Multiculturalism gets packaged as a sales item by governments, as in New Labour’s late-1990s slogan “Cool Britannia”, and by companies such as Benetton.