"For a very small expense the publick can facilitate, can encourage and
can even impose upon almost the whole body of the people, the
necessity of acquiring those most essential parts of education."
Adam Smith, from The Wealth of Nations (1776).
The values of Public Education are under attack from a small powerful
group who are driven by a particular ideology. A great deal of
literature has been written in response, and it makes worthwhile
reading, but it has been by nature, academic. That is, it is balanced,
well researched and soundly reasoned. The attack though is Political and
zealous. It is neither well researched nor balanced, but it is
powerful. It has succeeded so well in introducing to the public mind
its own language, that it now dictates the terms of any debate.
Publicly funded education accessible to all citizens needs to be
promoted in a political way. To do this we propose the formation of a
Tertiary Education Round Table (TERT), a group which would coordinate a
sustained response to the extremes of free market ideology in education.
The primary aim of the Tertiary Education Round Table should be to
engage the public mind. It would define and defend the principles and
practice of Liberal education.
The Tertiary Education Round Table, like the Business Round Table,
should promote its values via articles, broadcasts, education
breakfasts, conferences, forums and seminars, advertising, and press
releases on pertinent topics. Strategies, in other words, that have the
highest public and political profile.
Michael Mulheron & John B. Turner,
Fine Arts, The University of Auckland, 18 Nov. 1997.
See parts one,
more on the response to the Tertiary
Review Green Paper.