Societally engaged research universities want their students to find out how they see their role – as university graduate in their field – in society. This also implies that they find out how the see society – as it is and as they would like it to be.
But is educational vision and mission this really value-free? Is it politically neutral? Does it allow students to develop the conviction that life is a rat-race, with survival of the fittest and with a view that ‘serving society’ is stupid and something for losers?
If my university – or my network of universities – chooses that such a rat-race philosophy does not fit with their vision on the university’s contribution to society, Should they tell students with this outlook to go find another university? Would it then be OK if some universities (including mine) choose “Value for Society” as their philosophy, whilst other universities adopt the “Choose for Number One” philosophy for how they educate their students?
Maybe these are a bit farfetched questions, because the choices are rarely that black and white. But still, it remain a nagging thought that value-driven education may pose some difficult questions.