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ByJoseph   posted on10 Jan, 12 5869 Views 0 Comments Main Feature Add to favorite

For our purpose, certain key features stand out in comparing the medieval universities to those of modern society. First, the medieval universities collectively constituted a relatively modest institution in what was a rural traditional society; they were really on the fringe of things. Second, despite their relative marginality, their function of providing an educated stratum, in command of texts, language and rhetoric, was significant in that they were able to monopolize the definitions of worthwhile knowing. They were the epistemological guardians. Third, being educated, being literate and having attended a university was highly unusual (Gellner, 1991).
In such a society, where the mass of the people were illiterate, the function of the university was clear: to produce literate persons. All three conditions of the medieval university of social significance, of epistemological monopoly and of educational supremacy are now challenged in modern society.

We cannot understand modern society without giving a central place to the university. There is, however, an ambiguity at work. On the one hand, higher education has grown, has become massified and has become a state system. On the other hand, the former monopoly over the definitions of knowledge which the clerks enjoyed has vanished. And this change is seen in two ways. First, modern society is forming its own views as to what is to count as knowledge. Today, it dismisses contemplative knowledge, knowledge which brings personal understanding, even knowledge which offers truth. Now, it wants knowledge which is going to have demonstrable effects on the world, which is going to improve economic competitiveness and which is going to enhance personal effectiveness. In the process, our sense of what is to count as knowledge and truth changes; and the university is asked to take those new definitions on board.
Second, in the knowledge society, saturated with professional action, organizational and economic challenge, new sites of knowledge production emerge. Knowledge is produced in and through action; in the solving of organizational and technological problems; and in the generation of new social arrangements. This is not traditional propositional knowledge but is a different form of knowledge; from mode 1 to mode 2 knowledge, as it has recently been suggested (Gibbons et al. 1994).
In all three of its basic conditions, then, the relationships between higher education, knowledge and society are changing profoundly. First, higher education has become pivotal, and has grown enormously in size; and this is a recent phenomenon. Second, the universities have lost their monopoly over the definitions and, indeed, the production of knowledge (Hague, 1991). Third, in India today, more than 60 per cent people are literate, while in western conditions whose models we follow most of them are literate
Higher education, knowledge and society are entering a new configuration. Crudely, the change that has been taking place is a shift from Higher education knowledge society To Society knowledge higher education

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