The marketisation of Higher Education through the English university model: key elements, criticisms and possibilities

David Menéndez Álvarez-Hevia, Reyes Hernández-Castilla


This article provides a theoretical reflection on the challenges associated to the practices of marketisation and the economising trend of higher education. We refer to the English university experience to illustrate how the tendency to marketisation transforms relationships between agents, functions, organisation and the form it is understood higher education. The article focuses on three fundamental elements fundamental elements that explain the marketisation of the English higher education. Firstly, we discuss the transformation of the student into consumer and the higher education into a commodity. Secondly, we explore the concept of employability, focusing on pedagogical implications and showing how it promotes instrumentalised conceptualisations of university education. Thirdly, we discuss practices associated with evaluation and enhancement of competition by taking as a reference the systems used to assess teaching and research activity. We provide a critical analysis of these three elements and discuss ideas to reconfigure the transformation caused by the process of marketisation. Besides critical arguments, this article also provides forms to reconfigure practices associated to marketisation. Rather than rejecting marketisation, we suggest a reorientation that eases the most pernicious effects of this trend that is already present in the European university models.




Marketisation; Employability; University; English higher education; Bologna process; Supranational.


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