sábado, junho 20, 2009

10 years of Bologna process: Belgrade students organized performance "The pric€ of knowledge"

In Serbia, the Bologna process came with an enormous rise of tuition fees from year to year, chaos in the system and impoverishment of the curriculum.

For the tenth anniversary of Bologna declaration, the students of Belgrade universities organized a performance called "What is the price of knowledge?" in the main walking street in Belgrade. While we were sitting on the street and studying, the passers-by were invited to put a price on particular types of knowledge - What is the price of the knowledge of sociology? What is the price of the skill of playing the piano? How much should knowledge cost for that guy in the green shirt, and how much should it cost for the girl wearing sandals? For us, the price of knowledge has been changing from year to year, getting higher and higher, although the knowledge itself stayed the same.

People wrote down their prices on pieces of paper with a bar-code, and gave those to individual students. Most people, actually, thought that knowledge should be free. Some, unlike our university authorities, didn't feel competent to answer this question, so they'd rather leave after a discussion on the government's irresponsibility, the number of students needed in the labor market, the former free education... Some felt that the value of knowledge cannot be expressed in money, so they wrote under the bar-code: "priceless".

If knowledge is priceless, what is actually being bought on the Bolognese "knowledge market"? What is being bought, actually, isn't knowledge. Knowledge cannot be handed out, it is learned. What we are being sold, what our parents pay for through taxes, and then pay for again through the tuition fees, is the process of the accommodation of education to the dictate of the market, the impoverishment of the curriculum and the extinction of "unprofitable" knowledges. If this process isn't stopped, the educational space will soon be turned into a luxury mart for buying diplomas.

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