Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

The price of knowledge and the wisdom of innocence: A difficult journey through the employability discourse in higher education

Barkas, Linda Anne and Armstrong, Paul-Alan (2021) The price of knowledge and the wisdom of innocence: A difficult journey through the employability discourse in higher education. Industry and Higher Education. 095042222110162. ISSN 2043-6858

Item Type: Article


Through the examination of knowledge artefacts, utilising an analytical metaphorical representation, the authors present an exploration of higher education. In this way, the exploration is depicted as a schizophrenic, dichotomic journey through the difficult discourse of knowledge, wisdom, and employability in higher education institutions. The article explores how the place and value of knowledge appear fractured in the higher education curriculum. Applying Root Cause Analysis, it is argued that the marketisation, commercialisation and commodification of higher education, with the resulting emphasis on economic value through the employability of graduates, has created unintended consequences in the sector. To insert employability initiatives, something has to give in the module structure so that everything can be fitted in. That ‘something’ is the sacrifice of wisdom within the deeper knowledge of a subject. The authors argue that the depth of knowledge has unintentionally been negatively affected by embedding employability. While some students position themselves strategically to use their education for their individual gain, others want to learn more deeply, and become anxious that they do not have the time to reflect on what they have learned. It is recommended that a deeper reflexive conversation must take place between all stakeholders in higher education if it is to have a future in economic terms.

Full text not available from this repository.

More Information

SWORD Depositor: Publication Router
Depositing User: Publication Router


Item ID: 13528
Identification Number:
ISSN: 2043-6858
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Linda Anne Barkas: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2021 09:53
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2021 09:55


Author: Linda Anne Barkas ORCID iD
Author: Paul-Alan Armstrong

University Divisions

Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism > Sunderland Business School

Actions (login required)

View Item (Repository Staff Only) View Item (Repository Staff Only)