The Changing Postmodern University

  •  Chi Nguyen    


While modernism with its principles lying in reason and metanarratives was commended for rationalism and absolute truth yielded in science and technology, postmodernism rejects scientific achievements which have brought both benefits and disasters to life and widened social stratification. It describes a rejection of such fundamental Western philosophies as Euro-centricism, metaphysics, authoritarianism and domination. It denies the existence of objective knowledge, the consistence of the self and rationalism. On the one hand, the reality we live in is said to be full of holes with scientific establishments with which scientists have created for a better life, and on the other in views of ethics many of us have become skeptical about the unique existence of truth. Higher education no longer seeks the unity of culture and consensus of communal communication, but accepts to challenge itself to criticisms and to swim in global competition flows. Knowledge from universities which has both lost its ivory power and broken its science-exclusive preserving border becomes functional when students aim to ingest what they want to ingest as they find it useful for their global civic participation. Universities must consequently become a pioneering cradle in the production of new knowledge for society and human beings, and they are mandated to provide global-adaptive knowledge to global moving students. While modernist education tried to educate students for citizenship and fixed jobs, postmodernist education is believed to train them for uncomfortable uncertainties and the ability to live with chaos. Postmodernism changes our mindset. It changes higher education.

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