I’ve been working in so-called higher education for almost 25 years, and watched as we adopted business model after business model. Usually we were a good ten years behind the private sector, and seldom investigated the wisdom of using a model that had little relevance to education and which had already been abandoned by business for the latest in management thinking.
At best, tailgating business fixes for education leads to pathetic marketing slogans on buses: “Dream. Explore. Discover.” Translation: We want your warm body and cold cash for our institution. At worst, it distorts the educational process completely. We sell English courses to visa students, promising quick results that can’t be delivered. Teachers are demoted to delivering educational consumables. At worst, we are giving degrees and diplomas to students who we will have to eventually recall for real studies.

Case in point. Student A can only speak or write text she has memorized. Imagine her at her first meeting with her supervisor.  He has just quickly told her what he expects for the next month. She asks him to please repeat everything. He does. She nods her head and goes back to her department. She takes out her cell phone with voice recorder app and writes down what she thinks she hears, in her native language. Then she takes out her electronic dictionary and translates her notes into English. We next hear her talking to a female customer.

“Can I help you, sir?  I am here to serve your every need. What is your deepest desire? I am happy to serve you with joy.”

Remember that in a recall, we blame the manufacturer, not the product.  Imagine a college having to “fix” tens of thousands of students with faulty English skills.

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