Student Recruitment

Student recruitment is a funny term…  when I think of recruitment I think of employees and soldiers being called up to offer service to the institution with remuneration. I wonder what the actual meaning of recruitment is and if others would agree with my view of the word? Does it even have an actual meaning or just a common agreed meaning?

Anyhow, when universities were grant funded that sense of recruitment kind of makes sense. After all what were students but more grey matter recruited to the institution to power the advance of academia, remunerated in the form of degrees. Is this a rose tinted view? Maybe.

However, today in the Capitalist model of university education where students are supposed to be in a position to make informed choices as customers and use universities to better themselves, the idea of them paying and being recruits seems at odds. It implies that they are in the service of the institution, (offering it the money it needs as their service?). The work that they do does not seem to be of any benefit to the institution, which is now largely governed by financial viability rather than academic. The degree award seems somewhat independent of the work, after all it has been paid for.

Not many students are failed nowadays, but are they due a refund if they are? Or more accurately, as they are not actually paying for it directly, does the public purse get a refund? Are we as a public able to demand that they fail more students and have higher standards? Should the failed student be compensated for the potentially more valuable dreams, time and hopes that were wasted through miss selling? What of the NSS and the CMA in all of this?

How important are these distinctions and the language in determining the relationships between students and institutions? I dont know? But it at least makes you think…

Of course in an ideal world in the current model you wouldn’t need student recruitment teams, you would have good courses that could transform peoples lives and pay prospects. All you would need to do is inform people through marketing. So what is student recruitment? It does sound like a vehicle to ensure the financial viability of the university as opposed to the offer of a service. Why not just have marketing?


About Phil Lambert

Visual artist based in Cardiff
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