Liberal Education

A review in The Economist of Stefan Collini’s What Are Universities For? The best articulation of the instrumental/intrinsic debate is still Oakeshott’s The Voice of Liberal Learning. Here is the first essay from VLL online. And Paul Franco is tackling this topic for the Oakeshott Companion.

Mr Collini is moved by Newman’s insistence that a liberal education is not about what students learn or what skills they acquire but “the perspective they have on the place of their knowledge in a wider map of human understanding”. But this is a far cry from the mechanisms government now uses (and Mr Collini’s focus is almost entirely on the British government in Westminster) to set goals for the proper expenditure of public money and to turn university students into demanding “consumers” of higher education.