The Erosion of UK Higher Education: “Are Students Our Consumers?”

Weisha WANG, Jindao WANG


Given the rapid growth of the higher education sector in UK and the challenges it has faced in the past two decades, the government recognizes that a more concise, economical, and efficient management system for higher education should be established. This system requires all relevant institutions to locate students at the core of higher education services and treat them as consumers of higher education. The government has repeatedly stressed that students spend money to receive education and they must feel that they gain “value for money.” Students are involved in drawing up curriculum standards, quality assessment, and preparation of the syllabus. Such “student-centered” working philosophy, which is characterized by comprehensiveness, specialization and standardization, is deeply embedded in teaching, research, management, and student affairs. The current mainstream of world higher education development is market-based and student-centered. On one hand, the students’ willingness to consume and their actions determine the direction of higher education development. On the other hand, “students as consumers” are slowly eroding the traditional ethos of the higher education system. Module marks become a kind of good that can be bargained for, and the essence of education is slowly changing.


Student consumer; Evaluation; Teaching inspiration

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