Blog of the International Sociological Association (ISA)
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The Post-2008 Crisis and the Crisis of Higher Education in Cyprus

The Post-2008 Crisis and the Crisis of Higher Education in Cyprus

Victor Roudometof, President of the University of Cyprus’ Faculty Labor Union Historically, Cyprus lacked its own public universities; the first ...

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Portuguese Science: Chronicle of Death Foretold

Portuguese Science: Chronicle of Death Foretold

Helena Carreiras, Senior researcher, Center for Research and Studies in Sociology, ISCTE, Lisbon, Portugal The Portuguese government decided to overhaul ...

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The Crisis of Public Universities in Indonesia Today

The Crisis of Public Universities in Indonesia Today

Lucia Ratih Kusumadewi and Antonius Cahyadi, University of Indonesia The Indonesian Reforms of 1998 brought about massive social change. Ever ...

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Germans Boycott University Rankings

Germans Boycott University Rankings

Scientific Evaluation, Yes – CHE Ranking, No Methodological Problems and Political Implications of the CHE University Ranking German Sociological Association ...

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Neoliberalism and Higher Education: The Australian Case

Neoliberalism and Higher Education: The Australian Case

Raewyn Connell, University of Sydney [1] When neoliberal policies in Australia began to bite in the sphere of higher education, towards ...

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Carnage in Aleppo University in Syria

Carnage in Aleppo University in Syria

Eighty-seven people were killed and at least 150 injured in two explosions that struck Aleppo University in Northern Syria this ...

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Calls for Academic Freedom: Reflections on Palestine and Israel

Calls for Academic Freedom: Reflections on Palestine and Israel

Feras Hammami, KTH, Royal Institute of technology, Stockholm, Sweden “Israeli academic freedom is under severe attack”. This was written in a ...

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Report Finds Risky Money Managment by University of California

Report Finds Risky Money Managment by University of California

A report released last week by UC Berkeley students, reveal the staggering human costs of University of California’s interest rate ...

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James Vernon, University of California, Berkeley

I graduated from the University of Manchester in 1987 with no debt. I paid no fees and received a maintenance grant to earn a degree in Politics and Modern History. If my seventeen year old son were to follow in my footsteps he would graduate with debts of at least £50,000 and were he to study in London that could rise to £90,000. In the space of a generation we have witnessed the destruction of the public university.

The Browne Report released last week, and effectively rubber stamped in the savage public sector cuts announced yesterday (October 20), was simply the final nail in the coffin. Under the beguiling but misleading title ‘Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education’ it effectively announced that university degrees are no longer considered a public good but a private investment. Accordingly, it is the individual student, not the public, who will pay its cost. Tuition fees will rise from £3,225 to a minimum of £6,000 rising to a potential ceiling of £12,000. State funding will fall from £3.5bn to just £700m – a total of 80% but a 100% cut in areas like the arts, humanities and social sciences that apparently have no public utility.

The cost of a university education may be charged to the individual student but they will be forced to pay for it through the sort of debt-financing that governments across the world now consider so inappropriate for themselves. The scale of national debt is so ruinous we are told it requires emergency austerity measures (like all state intervention these days couched in the inevitable military metaphor of Osborne’s ‘war of welfare and waste’). Students, meanwhile, will be encouraged to take on loans based upon an imagined future income. They will effectively gamble that the loan will eventually pay-off by enhancing their future job prospects and earning power. It will be a hedge against their future security. What are effectively sub-prime loans are guaranteed by the state. Higher education is now modeled on the types of financial speculation that has helped get us in to this mess. [More...]

Rochman Achwan, University of Indonesia

The Indonesian university faces an uphill battle to improve the quality of its academic output. The race to win a place in the world’s top 100 universities preoccupies the minds of the top ten universities in Indonesia. In the following paragraphs, I will discuss the circumstances surrounding the university and its response to the current liberalization of higher education in Indonesia and the country’s democratization.

Long academic tradition and institutional networks are considered pivotal elements not only for coping with both liberalizations and democratization but also for improving the quality of academic output. The Faculty of Economics and Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Indonesia (UI) have been selected for comparison. The University of Indonesia is the oldest and most prestigious state university in Indonesia. In the 2010 QS World University Rankings, UI is 95th in social science, the highest among universities in Indonesia, but far behind the National University of Singapore, which ranks 16th.

Liberalization of higher education took place in the 1990s, during the final years of the authoritarian regime in Indonesia, and was consolidated the decade after. In essence, liberalization cut the state budget for higher education and required universities to finance themselves. ‘Let the market not the state dictate’ became the norm in higher education. State universities have gained the most benefit at the expense of hundreds of private universities. Liberalization has made it easier for state universities to open up new undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate extension programs, because they are older, more structured, and have lower tuition fees than private universities. These new extension programs, which have higher tuition fees but less rigid entrance requirements, attract high school graduates and those pursuing further degrees. Private universities complain that their enrolment of new students has decreased significantly as they prefer to enter state universities. State universities became mass production factories of knowledge. [More...]