petej + risk   175

Made in Westminster – Sean Wallis | The Convention for Higher Education
This all changed with the removal in 2014 of caps on student numbers. Universities could now compete with each other for students, and market share. The first set of victims have been the post-92 universities, the ex-polytechnics, whose staff are not in the USS pension scheme. Students considering an expensive degree at London Metropolitan University, for example, now found places at King’s College. In London, LMU’s pain has been swiftly followed by that of Westminster University, currently engaged in serial cutbacks of staff.

In this first wave, the USS employers have boomed. Indeed, the Higher Education Statistics Agency reports that sector surpluses rose by a factor of 10 from £158m in 2005/6 to £1.5bn in 2016/17. However, to accommodate the new student numbers, universities needed estate capacity. They started a major programme of investment in new buildings, campuses and student accommodation. To do this they needed to borrow. Whereas some initial loans may have been on favourable terms, as construction costs have increased, institutions have had to borrow on the open market.

Of course, when you borrow in this way you have to declare your assets and your liabilities, including the liability toward the pension fund. It is this new obligation that I believe explains why, in the USS negotiations, UUK employers (led by the most expansionist Russell Group employers) focused on Defined Contribution, rather than, say, a worse Defined Benefit scheme.
education  higherEducation  universities  pensions  USS  valuation  deficit  risk  regulation  quantitativeEasing  banking  bailout  interestRates  gilts  expansion  investment  construction  UUK  RussellGroup 
march 2018 by petej
Deadly Cityscapes of Inequality | Blog | The Sociological Review
All of these tragedies are symptomatic of a broader process of redistributing risk and vulnerability. Those who control wealth and power are becoming ever more adept at protecting themselves from the perils that the rest of us face. Living in gated communities with private security infrastructure, and enjoying forms of global mobility that allow them to escape from dangerous situations as need be, today’s off-shored elites are able to dodge many of the problems caused by climate change, political instability, and inadequate regulation.

The poor have long faced elevated risk of death at work and at home. But generations of activists struggling around housing, labour, and other issues won safety standards, inspection regimes, public health measures, and other ways to mitigate and reduce the threat of illness and premature mortality. Yet the trend in recent decades has been to roll back regulations and download risk back onto individuals, often relying on market mechanisms, producing historically and socially specific forms of precarity and disposability. When security is privatised and safety is increasingly monopolised by the powerful, the relatively powerless are the ones who suffer. Grenfell Tower, like other recent disasters, is a chilling illustration of how inequality kills.
GrenfellTower  fire  safety  infrastructure  inequality  poverty  class  race  NewOrleans  Katrina  Flint  Michigan  risk  wealth  power 
june 2017 by petej
Ed-Tech in a Time of Trump
The proctoring software and learning analytics software and “student success” platforms all market themselves to schools claiming that they can truly “see” what students are up to, that they can predict what students will become. (“How will this student affect our averages?”) These technologies claim they can identify a “problem” student, and the implication, I think, is that then someone at the institution “fixes” her or him. Helps the student graduate. Convinces the student to leave.

But these technologies do not see students. And sadly, we do not see students. This is cultural. This is institutional. We do not see who is struggling. And let’s ask why we think, as the New York Times argued today, we need big data to make sure students graduate. Universities have not developed or maintained practices of compassion. Practices are technologies; technologies are practices. We’ve chosen computers instead of care. (When I say “we” here I mean institutions not individuals within institutions. But I mean some individuals too.) Education has chosen “command, control, intelligence.” Education gathers data about students. It quantifies students. It has adopted a racialized and gendered surveillance system – one that committed to disciplining minds and bodies – through our education technologies, through our education practices.

All along the way, or perhaps somewhere along the way, we have confused surveillance for care.

And that’s my takeaway for folks here today: when you work for a company or an institution that collects or trades data, you’re making it easy to surveil people and the stakes are high. They’re always high for the most vulnerable. By collecting so much data, you’re making it easy to discipline people. You’re making it easy to control people. You’re putting people at risk. You’re putting students at risk.
education  technology  edtech  personalData  surveillance  learningAnalytics  profiling  policing  risk  TrumpDonald  dctagged  dc:creator=WattersAudrey 
february 2017 by petej
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