Education and The Market: Clarifying The Stand
We need to reframe this debate, therefore. Markets, in their true, inclusive, sense can't function without an equitable, accessible system of education. This is not about a market to deliver education, but an education system underlying the efficient functioning of the market, which should be publicly provided. Public providers have, however, the responsibility to see that the students can participate in the market effectively - and should therefore be thinking about economic productivity rather than leading a crusade against it - and this should lead to a new debate about the shape of public education.
This leaves us with the argument of introducing the market in education as a way of generating efficiency. While this is being tried in several countries, in many ways, education remains pre-market. The accessibility principle is often violated by introduction of markets, and instead of creating efficiency, market competition brings unnecessary corruption in education in the form of misinformation, grade inflation and short-termism. The current regulatory approach, which sees market as a panacea and tries to introduce business-like operations even with non-market players, gets it wrong all too often: What one needs is a regulatory system which can introduce long term thinking even with the market operators, not the other way around.