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  • 2020DavidGoldingPhD

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Governing a Sri Lankan higher education institution across the colonial difference

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2021
Number of pages170
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This study explores colonial and neoliberal governmentalities through semi-structured interviews with students and faculty at a for-profit transnational institution of higher education in Sri Lanka. The institution is partnered with University of London (UOL), which for a century has overseen the education of students in British colonial territories. UOL continues to govern the conduct of students and faculty in 80 institutions of higher educations across the global south, mostly through annual examinations that constitute the entirety of assessment. UOL examinations are a singular mechanism that displace educational authority from institutions and lecturers while rendering classroom teaching unnecessary. The results of this study suggest that UOL secures its authority over educational spaces in the global south by governing students as “external,” classrooms as merely auxiliary spaces in which “distance education” takes place, and lecturers as unnecessary. Students and faculty form subjectivities around the absence of lecturers, assessment, or university. These deficits reify the need for UOL’s intervention and, more broadly, the coloniality of knowledge production.