Students as consumers of higher education: Implications for the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus
Steele, L. (2008). Students as consumers of higher education: Implications for the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. In L. Quamina-Aiyejina (Ed.), Reconceptualising the agenda for education in the Caribbean: Proceedings of the 2007 Biennial Cross-Campus Conference in Education, April 23-26, 2007, School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago (pp. 415-426). St. Augustine, Trinidad: School of Education, UWI.
As recent as the early 1970s, the word consumerism was associated with goods and services but not used with respect to students. However, with the continuing change in higher education over the last 35 years, students are now being seen as consumers rather than as a body of people in the pursuit of knowledge. It has been argued that because of the commodification of higher education, education is likely to be reconceptualized as a commercial transaction, with the lecturer as the "commodity producer" and the student as the "consumer." Administrators of higher education institutions must therefore respond to the views and needs of students. At the St. Augustine Campus, much improvement has been made with respect to student needs, and the views of students were recently sought with respect to the shaping of the new strategic plan for the campus. However, much more still needs to be done. This paper explores the reasons for student consumerism, and identifies and discusses some of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of consumerism. Management implications for higher education institutions, in general, and The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus in particular, are also presented