Monetising knowledge

Albert Einstein”Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” Albert Einstein (or so the legend goes)

Gill Kirkup, a colleague of mine, was last year seconded to a project exploring how you can put a value (in terms that those who look at the ‘bottom line’ can understand) on the social and environmental dimensions of procurement. Gill explained it to us recently at a meeting and I was fascinated by the idea.

Martin Weller ‘tweeted’ this week that every conversation he has had recently has been about money. This is very uninspiring and is especially a concern for things which themselves don’t necessarily demonstrate benefits that you can put a cost on, speculative research and development for example and services that are hidden or where their benefits are slow to be realised, or where the emphasis is about improving or maintaining quality.

How much should universities invest in free and open access to knowledge resources when faced with a funding ‘crisis’ and public sector squeeze? – What subject areas should be removed from the curriculum to target the skills needed for employers, and how does that impact on our ‘knowledge economy’? – How many universities will drop research completely as it becomes less financially viable to maintain compared with charging higher fees and rolling out a STEM based curriculum model competing with the ‘for profits’ sector? – What in the end is the role of university to society?

I have no answers only questions….but I don’t think we should be all about monetisation and I’m interested in what Alex Salmond of SNP has said about pledging free education. Here are a couple of quotes to finish…

“And out of educational access came social mobility as we reached all the talents of a nation to change the world for the better – we can do so again.”

“We would only fail if we were to betray our traditions and mortgage the future.”

Strong rhetoric. Perhaps we need more of that.


About willwoods
I'm Head of Learning and Teaching Technologies in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University.

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