Competition within and across universities is so common that it may not seem like a big deal. Professors compete for tenure. Students compete to get into a best universities. And universities compete for rankings.

But where does this competition come from and what effects is it having on higher education systems?

My guest today is Prof. Rajani Naidoo, professor in higher education management at the University of Bath. She recently edited a special issue of the British Journal of the Sociology of Education looking at what she calls the “competition fetish” in higher education. The special issue, which comes out later this year, brings together articles that show the varieties of competition and the various ways actors channel, reproduce, internalize and secure competition logics. Some of the articles address the consequences of competition.

Prof. Naidoo presented some of the ideas discussed here in her Worldviews lecture. 

Citation: Naidoo, Rajani, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 20, podcast audio, July 21, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/rajaninaidoo/

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Yesterday, the globalization and education special interest group hosted a keynote address at the comparative and international education society’s annual conference, which was held this year in Vancouver. I’m going to play the audio of the hour long keynote address, which was given by André Mazawi. Professor Mazawi works in the department of educational studies at the University of British Columbia. His talk is entitled “The location of globalization: on building dwelling thinking higher education.

On today’s show we continue our conversation on PISA. Last week Bob Lingard walked us through the history of the OECDs work in education and compared the main PISA test with the new service called “PISA for Schools.”

Today, Keita Takayama provides a critical reading of the so-called “PISA debate.” This debate started in May 2014 when a group of scholars published an open letter in the Guardian newspaper to Andreas Schleicher, the head of OECD’s education and skills division, criticizing PISA. Two subsequent response letters (here and here) were published in the Washington Post responding to the open letter and critiquing PISA in ways left out of the original letter.

Keita Takayama, a professor at the University of New England in Australia, takes us through the arguments in these various letters. By looking at who wrote the letters, Prof. Takayama scratches the surface of the arguments to locate hidden agendas. In the end, he sees the so-called “PISA debate” as provincial.

Citation: Takayama, Keita, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 19, podcast audio, July 21, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/keitatakayama/

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