[Air-l] Re: something totally different

Bram Dov Abramson bda at bazu.org
Wed Mar 6 10:36:15 PST 2002

burg at donau-uni.ac.at:
> >>That means here in Austria we are moving
> >>from national to international systems and naming.
> >>Due to a lack of tradition we struggle with the meaning of MA and
> >>MSc programs.

>>What makes MA  and MSc naming more international than, say, Magister?

>the idea is - along with the Bologna declaration of the EU - that students 
>and faculty get mobilized thus one thinks the first step is to harmonize 
>the different educational systems and make them more easily comparable so 
>they can move from one spot to the
>other. A structural shift is definentely the decision to implement 
>Bachelor programs, here in Austria we didn't have that.

Sure.  I'm just wondering how designations used mostly by the 
English-speaking world (MA, MSc, etc) have come to act as the de facto 
"international" designations.  It seems kind of strange.

>Anyway I think education gets commoditized in a way.

Well, in a way, yeah, by definition.  Goods and services become 
commoditised when they are easily substitutable for one another; when a 
commoditised good (or services) is provided by multiple vendors who compete 
for consumers of that good, you have a classic market.  So this 
"harmonisation" of education -- on Anglo-American nomenclature and perhaps 
structure, if I understand correctly -- performs the work of 
commoditisation and creates a European-wide market for higher education 
services.  Leaving providers of these services, in turn, either to compete 
on price, or (likelier) to attempt to escape commoditisation by 
distinguishing their offerings through unique programmes and research, 
prestige, location, and other distinguishing features.

Or so, I assume, goes the thinking.


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