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Neo-liberal Reforms in Higher Education Accelerated by the Pandemic

Neo-liberalism’s claim of being the vanguard of individual freedom works asthe basis of popular support foreducation systemreforms, which aim at making society receptive to the principles of free market. In the process, contents and methods of teaching–learning are redesigned to build public consent for those reforms, while the real objectives are to possibly ensure a steady flow of skilled human resource for the market. The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant changes in the education system are being used to increase acceptability of the reforms.

Contents and methods are significant components of an education system. Once, free and critical thinking were considered necessary for the growth of knowledge and ­encouraged as means for achieving meritocracy. Liberalism believed that rationality was the essence of human nature, which meant that social man was motivated by the objective of utility maximisation. Education and research were allowed freedom to develop in accordance with the tenets of rationality (Basu 2020).

The model of education generally followed was aimed at in-depth study in preferred areas of interest, and the higher education institutions (HEIs) enjoyed autonomy in designing contents and methods of teaching and evaluation. State funding was not linked with ranking of the institutions on the basis of given uniform parameters. Education and research were not controlled by state policies as much as other sectors were.

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Updated On : 28th Sep, 2020

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