Stop Trying to Fix Students and Start Trying to Fix the University

Dave Webster

Dr Nicola Rivers and Dr Dave Webster

What do Universities do for students to help them secure a thriving future? They offer them mindfulness; sign them up to resilience programmes; advocate that they cultivate grit, and encourage them to promote themselves as personal brands, ready to do battle in the brutal arena of the precarious, broken gig economy. This seems benign, to be readying students for a harsh, world where individuals will need every advantage in competing with each other. But isn’t this hugely pessimistic and to undersell the goal of Higher Education?

It isn’t aspirational or transformative to try and make University like ‘the real world’, or an imagined reality TV version of it. What might be truly worthy of the term ‘education’, rather than ‘training’, would be to cultivate a space that transmits its values in its practices: an institution that walked the walk, rather than…

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