Dutch universities are increasingly paralleling a US model of privatisation. We’re seeing the effects of this neoliberalisation of public services in many aspects of society.
The effects of neoliberalism has bred a university that privileges individualism and careerism over collaborative efforts, and the university itself is becoming less a centre for learning and collaborative education for the common good (if it ever was) and more a knowledge-factory run by greedy managerial bureaucrats.
In recent years we have seen the UK government triple student fees to £9,000 per year. We have also seen academic and support staff pressured to work more for less pay, with the threat of department closures and redundancies. The increase of short-term contracts creates fragile working conditions and leads to implicit sexism, racism and ableism, in which only those “flexible” enough to suit the demands of the market will be hired, despite equal qualifications. In the Netherlands, students are at risk of losing their grants under new government proposals.
But there have also been many effective strategies of resistance. The students in Quebec took to the streets and won their demands. Across the UK there have been waves of occupations and national demonstrations. And in Chile, Papas Fritas burned the student loans papers.
In many ways this meeting acts as an extension of the recent IIRE (International Institute for Research and Education) meeting in which students and staff gathered to discuss how they can collectively tackle the threats being levered against their education and working conditions.
This meeting aims to discuss several important issues relating not merely to the university institution, but to the effects of neoliberalism upon many aspects of our lives.
What is the purpose of the university? What does it mean to have an educational institution that is geared towards the labour market? What are the effects of globalisation? Is the university a lost cause, and if so, shall we create alternatives outside the system? Or rather transform it from within?
As an afterparty of Alarm’s subversive political night we bring you another edition of DJ’s Carousel – a party, where the fresh talents of Utrecht’s DJ scene have the opportunity to present themselves with the series of short sets. Want to play on next Carousel editions as well? Just send and e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see…