Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Check out Jeff Williams' review of education based left movement Edu-Factory:

Edu-factory is a new group trying to revolutionize higher education. It is a relatively small, web-based collective (around 500 on its list) but casts an international net. It began as a listserv of those doing radical criticism of higher education and has since published a book (Toward a Global Autonomous University), developed a journal (see Edu-factory.org), and sponsored occasional “days of action,” calling for strikes among students and faculty in universities. Its organizers are largely European-based, intellectually coming out of the Italian autonomist movement and historically spurred by something called the Bologna Process.

The Bologna Process sounds as if it might be a political thriller at your local theater, but it’s an agreement of forty-six European countries oriented toward standardizing college degrees. It’s not an act of the EU, but it arises from work issues in the EU. In many ways, its goal sounds reasonable—European universities have a cacophony of regulations and degree requirements, in contrast to the U.S. system, which is more uniform and translatable, particularly after the credit hour was formalized in the early twentieth century. But Edu-factory sees the Bologna Process as instrumentalizing higher education, operating in the interests of capitalism rather than learning, particularly in its focus on assessment and “outcomes” and its orientation toward the vocational use of a degree.