Money and Relationships in Education

Sligo School Project


25th of May 2024

“More money generates better education.” This assumption can be detected in media reports about the budget, in articles about boarding schools, in statements about children of marginalised groups in society. Given the character of society that we live in this is no big surprise.

We don’t have to go far to see the limited nature of such a statement. It relies on an unquestioned assumption concerning education. If we put the concept of education up for questioning, the connection between money and education becomes an issue with a lot of interwoven and interdependent layers.

In a lot of social areas an increased commodification of interpersonal relationships can be observed. Education in this regard is no exception. Institutionalisation and professionalisation apparently go hand in hand.

Against this background we intend to enter into a discussion about the effects of money on relationships in education.

A simple collection of terms that came up in conversations that we had with parents and teachers in the recent past shows the bandwidth of the topic. This collection is anything but systematic. It is merely a compilation of momentary impressions:

accumulation, alienation, ambiguity, authenticity, business, chances, clients, comfort, commodification, commons, community, compensation, competition, connections, consumption, contradiction, critique, customers, demands, dependency, distance, economy, empathy, equality, exchange, exclusion, fairness, freedom, functionalisation, gift, gratification, happiness, hierarchy, honesty, inclusion, independence, indifference, institutionalisation, interests, justice, labour, loyalty, luxury, means, motivation, needs, occupation, poverty, power, price, production, professionalisation, profit, property, quality, resources, rights, satisfaction, security, society, solidarity, standards, state, status, survival, sustainability, tokenism, trust, value, wants, wealth, work …

… and you will most likely have a few more terms that come to mind when you think of money and relationships in education. Clearly, there is a lot of food for thought. And at the Symposium we are eager to disentangle a few of the knots that the topic presents.