Information and communications technology: Plugging Ontario higher education into the knowledge society

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Magnusson, Jamie-Lynn
Information Technology , Higher Education , Knowledge Society , Neoliberal Economics , World Bank , GATS , WTO
In this article I examine information and communications technology (ICT) in the context of changes to higher education. My analysis uses Ontario as a case study to illustrate that ICT and the knowledge society discourse is not about technological innovation per se. Rather the discourse legitimates neoliberal reforms to the higher education sector to lay the ground for participation in international markets. That is, these reforms enable privatization of higher education in keeping with pressures exerted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS). The case of Ontario is interesting because of the strategies used to "sell” massive neoliberal reforms to a public that has been, generally speaking, quite protective of its public services. The strategies and mechanisms used to "plug Ontario into the Knowledge Society" reveal how GATS works in local jurisdictions, and contributes to the study of how education within social welfare states comes to take on market characteristics.
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