The state, the universities and liberal legal education: students’ views from England, South Africa and Mauritius

Jones, Mariette W. ORCID logoORCID: and Spencer, Maureen P. (2013) The state, the universities and liberal legal education: students’ views from England, South Africa and Mauritius. In: Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference, 03-06 Sep 2013, Edinburgh, Scotland. . [Conference or Workshop Item]

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English university departments are increasingly forging teaching links with overseas universities whether through franchise arrangements, by setting up overseas campuses linked to the home institution or by exchanging students. At Induction new students, both at home and overseas, are introduced into the academy in part by staff exploring what university education means and what are the mutual expectations of lecturers and students. In countries as diverse as China, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Dubai, South Africa there are exchanges of students and, in some instances, close collaborative links with English universities. Little attention however has been given to investigating differing ideas on the part of students about the nature of higher education in these diverse jurisdictions. The paper, concentrating primarily on Law Departments, reviews the current status of the traditional liberal ideal of university education (Bradnech y 2003, Cownie 2004,) and discusses how its meaning and content are a matter of debate (Maharg 2007, Burridge and Webb 2008). Similar discussions are raised (albeit in a post-colonial paradigm) in South Africa (Cornell 2009). Globally values which highlight the role of universities in expressing national culture, the public good (or goods) and citizenship responsibilities are facing challenges from those private goods which prioritise contributions to economic development and individual advancement. The paper reviews the current legal relationship between the state and the universities in the two countries and its historical evolution as evidenced in official papers, public pronouncements such as parliamentary debates and university mission statements. The argument of the paper is that the evolution of the relationship between the state and the higher education inevitably impacts on the prevailing institutional discourse about the nature of university education. It follows that it would be advantageous for advancing student learning for lecturers and students to appreciate the nationally determined socio- historical and political background which informs the place of higher education in public policy and public perception.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Keywords (uncontrolled): Legal Education; Universities; Liberal Education
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
Item ID: 12679
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Depositing User: Mariette Jones
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2013 06:34
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2022 02:58

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