Critical blog

What are the key areas / disciplines / ideas that are being explored


The key ideas that are being explored are: the student as consumer is what the author is calling here a “double problem” In a sense, it is both inherently destructive to the university, and it is being wrongly implemented, even under its own conditions.


In academic fields such as higher education (HE), it is generally believed that the character and determination of British universities are being reshaped by marketization. Although the purpose of these reforms is to surge answerability, receptiveness, and worth of education for the expanded higher education area rather than the exclusive education sector. Academics from different corrections have put forward in detail the threat of marketization to the basic purpose, value and ideals of true “higher” education ( Boden and Epstein 2006; Lynch 2006; Marginson 1997; Naidoo and Williams 2015; Natale and Doran 2012; Potts 2005; Ritzer 1998, and also student comment, e.g. Afolabi and Stockwell 2012).

The problem stems from why they are unwilling to treat students as customers. This reluctance seems to be based on the idea that if students are treated as customers, academic rigor will automatically disappear. (Albanese 1999; Bay & Daniel 2001; Franz 1998).


Rajani Naidoo and Joanna Williams argues that, the attempts by various national governments to restructure higher education according to market principles have constructed the student consumer as a social category, thereby altering the nature, purpose, and values of higher education. The curriculum designed to meet the needs of large numbers of students, increase incomes and address short-term financial pressures can undermine the sociocultural measurement of higher education. Due to the “marketization” of disciplines and the narrow focus on the economic competition view of students as customers, the decline of the humanities and social sciences will lead to the loss of professional knowledge and applicable skills in the responsibility system in many fields, and these academic knowledge and practical skills Is essential to the sustainable development of a democratic society. (Rajani Naidoo and Joanna Williams 2014)

What broad fields of inquiry or ideas is the paper drawing on


The author used participant observation to identify that If it repeats endlessly what the students think they already know, then it can’t be a university education at all; in particular, the implementation of structures and procedures at all levels, constantly requiring and forcing faculty, staff and students to obey, directly undermining the goal of any university teaching is to cultivate and pursue the key factor of independent inquiry, which restricts the academic freedom of university institutions and students themselves, the development of knowledge and independent thinking within the university.

The author only briefly explained it in the literature and kept claiming that students are customers. This view is to change the process of basic education in universities.

What is the main contribution to knowledge that the paper is claiming?


According to Palya (1992) and the National Academy of Engineering (2003), the contribution of knowledge is not only based on previous literature, but also based on rationality and exploration to create new theories.


With this in mind, Professor Karín Lesnik-Oberstein (2017) has contributed a somewhat in-depth of research to the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 and the government’s introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), regarding the ‘double problem’. The first aspect of the “double problem”—students as consumers have essentially undermined university education—when considering how to define the “excellence” of university education is knowledge that can be identified and verified in research in various academic fields. The second aspect of “dual problems” is that the system’s working procedures are single and there are serious problems-relying on Microsoft data can only reflect the quality of teaching and cannot fundamentally solve the problems raised by the students themselves.


The author uses the literature about the harm caused by the concept of “students as consumers” to universities, faculty, and students as the basis for forming the article’s argument.

What is the core methodology that underpins the research


In this article, the abduction method is used to criticize, which can be seen as a mixed model of deduction and induction, which is displayed in surprising facts. (Ketokivi and Mantere 2010). This surprising fact is a conclusion, not a premise. The author uses facts to criticize the new insights of the impact of the concept of students as consumers. In abduction, the article puts forward logical conclusions that are acceptable but not necessary. Experience events are related to rules and provide new insights on issues (Kovács & Spens 2005).



This study uses qualitative research methods, using primary and secondary data. There are many reasons for using qualitative methods. First of all, the human factor in British universities is very important for academic research. Therefore, by contacting scholars who understand the “University Philosophy” to conduct investigations, obtain more accurate information and answer research questions. Second, since the purpose of this article is to criticize the hidden dangers and consequences caused by the concept of students as consumers, rather than confirming or rejecting hypotheses, qualitative methods are more appropriate. Third, this method has greater flexibility and adjustability, and is more suitable for authors who collect non-digital data text and written or spoken language. Fourth, qualitative research has been conducted. For example, a large amount of data on the academic freedom of European universities is published every year. Therefore, the author conducted identification data collection. Finally, the qualitative method can be completed in a relatively short time.

Does the evidence / argument presented substantiate the claims being made?


Although the author implement structures and procedures at every level that continuously demand and enforce staff were analyzed from three dimensions: assessment indicators, assessment methods and assessment methods discuss how to practice the aims of any university teaching to develop and the practice of obedience and compliance to pursue independent enquiry and knowledge, the author should also explain that students’ evaluation of teachers leads to teachers’ lowering of academic standards through surveys and interviews (Dennis E. Clayson and Debra A. Haley 2005.) For example, a Birnbaum’s survey found that more than 65% of teachers believed that holding scores to a high standard in the classroom would lower students’ evaluation of themselves. When asked if students’ assessment encouraged teachers to discount the course content, 72% of teachers gave the affirmative answers, and almost 49 percent said they provided less material in class than before. A third of teachers said they lowered standards to get students to pass exams. Only 7 percent of them raised the bar on their test scores. Seventy percent of students believe that grade scores affect a teacher’s ranking. (Birnbaum, M.H. 2000)


Furthermore, Michael Delucchi and Willian L. Smith provide research that agrees that the damage caused to universities, staff and students by the notion of the “student as consumer” is reflected in the relationship between teachers and students. Once it is determined that students are consumers, when students’ expectations are inconsistent with teachers’ educational purpose, based on the basic principle of satisfying consumers, the administrator will think that the fault lies with teachers, because they fail to satisfy consumers. Michael Delucchi and Willian L. Smith have pointed out this educational dilemma: “Teachers must avoid asking students to complete difficult tasks, because it may lead to students unpleasant or anger. We regard this approach to higher education as an obstacle to pedagogy.” (Michael Delucchi and William L. Smith. Satisfied Customers Versus Pedagogic Responsibility: Further Thoughts on Student Consumerism. Teaching Sociology, 1997(25):335) Which further supports the importance of the research Karín Lesnik-Oberstein (2017) carried out exploring the hidden dangers caused by the notion of student as consumer.


Does the author have a biased/prejudiced position?


The author carries out research to prove the argument, that the author does not fully understand what the link between the National Student Survey [NSS] and universities’ status and funding is, what these are used for and the meaning behind these feedback forms.


Although some of the author’s views in the article may be regarded as biased, the research does clearly confirm that the fatal impact of these radical measures can be used as an important reference for reserve scholars to solve similar problems. Mutual recommendation and research and a clear explanation of the critical thinking link in the article. Next, I will summarize and conduct in-depth research on the problems in my two blogs





  1. Boden, R., and D. Epstein. 2006. “Managing the Research Imagination? Globalisation and Research in Higher Education.” Globalisation, Societies and Education 4 (2): 223–36
  2. Afolabi, F., and L. Stockwell. 2012. “Graduate View: We Are Not Customers.” The Guardian, November 7. Accessed December 14, 2015.
  3. Lynch, K. 2006. “Neo-liberalism and Marketisation: The Implications for Higher Education.” European Educational Research Journal 5 (1): 1–17
  4. Albanese, M. (1999). Students are not customers: A better model for medical education. Academic Medicine, 74, 1172–1186.
  5. Marginson, S. 1997. Markets in Education. Sydney: Allen and Unwin
  6. Naidoo, R., and J. Williams. 2015. “The Neoliberal Regime in English Higher Education: Charters, Consumers and the Erosion of the Public Good.” Critical Studies in Education 56 (2): 208–223.

Rajani Naidoo and Joanna Williams, professors, in Student Agreements and  Student Consumers: The Marketization of Learning and the Erosion of Higher Education as a Public Good, 2014

  1. Natale, S. M., and C. Doran. 2012. “Marketisation of Education: An Ethical Dilemma.” Journal of Business Ethics 105 (2): 187– 96.
  2. Potts, M. 2005. “The Consumerist Subversion of Education.” Academic Questions 18 (3): 54–64
  3. Ritzer, G. 1998. The McDonaldization Thesis. London: Sage
  4. Bay, D., & Daniel, H. (2001). The student is not the customer: An alternative perspective. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 11, 1–19.
  5. Birnbaum, M. H. (2000). A Survey of Faculty Opinions Concerning Student Evaluation of Teaching. Fullerton: California State University. Retrieved from faculty3.htm
  6. Terence Karran and Lucy Mallinson, Academic Freedom in the UK: Legal and Normative Protection in a Comparative
    Context, Report for the University and College Union, 2017. The report was also featured in an article in the Times Higher
    Magazine – see at:
    (accessed on 14-06-2017) The UCU also issued a press release about it, at:
    academics-warn-of-low-levels-of-protection-for-academic-freedom?list=1676 (accessed on 14-06-2017)
    The full UNESCO recommendation is available from UNESCO at
    URL_ID=13144&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html (accessed on 14-06-2017)
  7. Two strategies for inductive reasoning in organizational research M Ketokivi, S Mantere – Academy of management review, 2010 –
  8. Gyöngyi Kovács (Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Helsinki, Finland), Abductive Reasoning in Logistics Research (2005)
  9. Academic Freedom in the U.K.: Legal and Normative Protection in a Comparative Context Report for the University and College Union by Terence Karran and Lucy Mallinson (2017)
  10. Dennis E. Clayson and Debra A. Haley. Marketing Models in Education: Students as Customers, Products, or Partners. Marketing Education Review, 2005,15(1):5,4,6-8.
  11. Ostrom, A. L., Bitner, M. J., & Burkhard, K. A. (2011). Leveraging service blueprinting to rethink higher education: When students become ‘valued customers,’ everybody wins. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from 10512/leveraging-service-blueprinting-to-rethink-higher-education/
  12. Mazzarol, T. (1998). Critical success factors for international education marketing. International Journal of Educational Management, 12(4), 163–175
  13. Mark, E. (2013a). Student satisfaction and the customer focus in higher education. Journal of Higher Education Policy & Management, 35(1), 2–10
  14. Cuthbert, R. (2010). Students as customer? Higher Education Review, 42(3), 3–25.
  15. Hemsley-Brown, J., & Oplatka, I. (2006). Universities in a competitive global marketplace: A systematic review of the literature on higher education marketing. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 19(4), 316–338.
  16. Caru, A., & Cova, B. (2003). Revisiting consumption experience: A more humble but complete view of the concept. Marketing Theory, 3(2), 267–286.

23. Michael Delucchi and William L. Smith.1997(25):335