Higher Education in the UK is experiencing a raft of reforms that are fundamentally reshaping what universities are, how they are governed and their ability to undertake their core task: the production of knowledge in all its guises. CDBU holds that these reforms are premised on two linked shifts associated with the marketization of higher education:
- the instrumentalisation of knowledge and its production (though mechanisms that seek to determine what the outcome of research will be)
- the privatisation of public educational assets (eg. in which costs and benefits of education accrue to the individual who can afford it rather than to the whole community)
This amounts to what might be thought of as an enclosure of the epistemic commons. The CDBU firmly believes that the work undertaken in higher education institutions should be connected to other sectors of the economy. But the processes that underpin all education and knowledge are necessarily unpredictable and open-ended. So the universities that support those processes must be maintained as autonomous institutions to protect them.