Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Learning with Tesco.

Students of the Open University who shop at Tesco will be able to use their Tesco Clubcard points towards the cost of their OU fees.
Who says learning can't be bought or sold?

The scheme is simple.
If you spend one thousand pounds in Tesco you receive ten pounds worth of Clubcard vouchers. These in turn can be cashed in against the cost of undergraduate tuition fees.
Ten pounds worth of Tesco vouchers being worth forty pounds discount in OU fees.

What does that tell us about the value of Tesco vouchers or the cost of OU courses?

According to the BBC, the university's vice chancellor said that this partnership :-

"was true to its principles of open access ........ allowing the university to extend its reach to new students ....... making access to the university's programmes as flexible as possible ....... giving our students a number of options to meet course fees".

I just don't agree.
If Tesco really cared they could just give the money straight to the OU, without making students shop the Tesco way.

The same story "OU extends reach through Tesco Clubcard Partnership" on the OU's news page contains the following sentence;

"The OU is the first university to add the Clubcard scheme to its marketing activity".

Does that mean that other University's are to join the scheme?
Might the other supermarkets be considering entering the student market?

The press release continues
"Millions of Clubcard holders will be encouraged to consider study through the University by exchanging the vouchers they hold for full or part payment towards courses."

So let us just stop and wonder?

Why do the OU want or need to market their courses through Tesco?
Why do Tesco want to help OU students?
What about students in full time education?

It is alleged that the real value of Clubcards lies in the massive data base potential provided to the supermarket.
Do Tesco really care about offering their customers the opportunity of gaining further qualifications or do they just want to add a certain type of person to their data base?

1 comment:

  1. I don't think this type of commercialism should have a place within eduction and as an OU student I am very upset about it. Other students, however, are happy with it.