The Voice of the Student as a ‘Consumer’
Bunce discusses the impact of students being defined as ‘consumers’ of their higher education. The chapter first considers when and why students came to be defined as consumers in England and Wales, UK, and then reflects upon the advantages and disadvantages associated with treating students as consumers of their education. This discussion includes the perspectives of both students and academic staff, and reviews empirical evidence about the effects of students themselves identifying as consumers on their approaches to learning and academic performance. The chapter concludes with a summary of the challenges for universities when listening to the student as consumer voice and emphasises the importance of striking a balance between making students feel heard, while resisting the notion that ‘the customer is always right’.
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