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Thread: An Analysis of European education: Elitist institutes versus Ordinary Colleges

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default An Analysis of European education: Elitist institutes versus Ordinary Colleges

    As I move further and further into linguistics, teaching, translating and education in my work here in Poland, I was thinking about posting something on the Higher-Educational policies of the EU, which to a large extent seem to me to be Corporatist and agenda-driven rather than opportunity-driven or equality-proofed(the basic idea that such universities will not be closed off to people from lower incomes or certain subgroups in EU societies). In launching this thread, I primarily want to examine Third-Level policy specifically in the EU and neighbouring non-EU countries rather than in North America or further afield.

    It is already well known that the EU promotes 'European' programmes rather than programmes examining the bigger ideologies underpinning the Status quo.

    It may come as no surprise to readers that Yannis Varoufakis's programme, as far as I can see, which I spoke to him by email about in 2011, in Greece was closed down sometime in 2014. The website is no longer active, and the programme seems to have been closed altogether with no information available on what, if anything, replaced it. Many of us disagree with decisions taken or not taken by Yannis, and his ever-changing opinions, but as he said to me himself, this was one of the very very few programmes offering an alternative approach to economics in Europe, along the lines of what Steve Keen does in Oz, America(I think) and elsewhere.

    Like most young people today in Ireland and the EU, I had what was considered a standard education, attending an Institute of Technology where I studied Business, economics and languages/translating/some linguistics.

    The main issues primarily motivating me in reading up about this are:

    1. The quality and accessibility of EU Third-Level education. I find promoting courses that merely re-inforce the ideology of the status quo really dumbs down education in most, if not all, EU States, especially when it comes to offering courses to International students, Erasmus/Excahnge students and visiting students who really expect more on things like economics or international trade than the standard EU policy papers on slide-shows.

    2. Private institutes that have a weird habit of churning out government leaders and government ministers, EU elites, Technocrats who seem to support a particular ideology when it comes to what 'Europe' and the 'EU' means, who do not understand other ideologies, and who seem to see no room for compromise with other schools of thought in the field of educational provision. Take Nick Clegg, and The College of Europe, which charges people 16 grand a year to attend their Belgian and Polish campuses

    It will sound like a conspiracy theory but are Europe's politicians and technocratic elites and business elites handpicked to a large extent from such programmes and universities? David McWilliams described attending the Belgian campus a few times and he is a well-known critic of the euro. His own view is, I think, that such people are completely fanatical in their approach to anything that threatens 'Europe'.

    Just look at their graduate list. This could easily be Oxford's graduate list at the height of the British Empire, but for nationalities being more diverse-politicians, bankers etc. from Britain, Denmark, Finland, everywhere else, Holland, Estonia, Latvia etc etc etc.

    Neil Kinnock's son is even married to the former 'Centre-left' Danish Prime Minister.

    Just how connected are these people, and how many other European private colleges are there such as this? Is there any person of significance in an EU govt post or position of power who has not attended such a place? In Ireland most of them seem to go to UCD, or else the local university, but there is something creepy about so many people chosen like this by one university imo to go on and drive the EU idea as they see it into public policy and law.

    3. The fees these places charge are insane. This is enough of an argument alone in my view.

    Does the EU have some sort of policy of selecting people from elite schools for its' own posts? The current EU-US ambassador is also a graduate of this school.

    I know one person in a similar institute in France, who got in with a slightly reduced fee of several grand having passed a scholarship exam. My own view is that while the elites go to the Centrally planned universities, the rest of us, depending on our location in the EU can face an increasingly expensive and limited choice of dumbed-down programmes at least in fields like Media studies, Economics, Finance, Trade, Business degrees, Political degrees, Philosophy etc.

    I cannot honestly say this would matter so much in the study of languages, but as a general educational policy, it seems to be decided from upon high and an underhand provision of pro EU programs and elitist schools seems to exist to produce the modeled graduate rather than the intelligent or critical graduate.

    Can anyone add to this thread, and maybe we can compare quality and accessibility as well as the ideology behind certain approaches in education evident, or not-so-evident across the EU/EEA?

    This can to some extent be flexible but I don't want it to be diverted away from the focus on institutes and programmes in Europe.
    Last edited by Apjp; 03-06-2016 at 03:18 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: An Analysis of European education: Elitist institutes versus Ordinary Colleges

    A really excellent post, that puts meat on the bones of the generalisms said about "the ideology of the ruling class" - Dumbing down for the middle and working class and group think cronyism for the ruling class.
    I think the dumbing down has hit the "top" level as well.

    One of the ways that the dumbing down is concealed is behind a mass of studies that are fragmentary and detailed, with very little work that makes a fresh analysis of systems as a whole.

    I would be interested to here apjp any example you have of a specific aspect of economics that in your observation is not being taught.

    There are some strands of the US educational system that groom people for power - the Fulbright scholarships would be just one example.

    I am not so familiar with comparable programmes in the EU. McWilliams is a slightly rogue specimen of the product.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre


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