Neoliberalization and managerialization of ‘education’ in England and Wales – a case for reconstructing education

This paper argues that the neoliberalization of education in England, begun in the 1980s, is having profoundly harmful effects on the lives of individuals and society. Neoliberalism represents a shift away from the post-war social democratic notion of universal “citizenship” rights/identities toward a system of individual consumer rights/identities. In education, neoliberal reforms have exposed state provision to privatization and marketization, and the ideology of the “new managerialism” and its belief in “business” management practices. As Whitty argues, these developments have been fostered by the belief that the private-sector approach is superior to that traditionally adopted in the public sector – requiring public-sector institutions to operate more like those in the private sector, and encouraging private (individual/family) decision making in place of political and professional judgments.

These changes have made the provision of education services more unequal and selective, intensifying “racial”, “gendered” and class-based hierarchies as a consequence. Young people have become increasingly treated as “human capital” in need of training for paid work rather than a broad-based critical pedagogy.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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