Skip navigation

Indymedia UK is a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues

An education system not to trust!

Melody Boyce | 26.10.2008 09:38 | Education | Repression | Workers' Movements | Birmingham | World

We need to dismantle the education system!

This system cannot be tusted!

The THE has published a survey in which 77% of lecturers denounce that they are pressurised to award higher grades to students than deserved. There are some important perversions of interest underlying the publication of such data by the THE.

If the THE, the universities, the QAA, the government, the pseudo-unions, or anyone else in the elite caste architecting the direction of British HE, wanted to really ensure meritocracy and student-centred learning in academia, they would first examine why lecturers feel pressured to inflate grades in the first place.

They do not want to answer this question because to do so would reveal the true hypocrisy of the QAA et al and the ways in which universities and their commercial and political collaborators, are appropriating knowledge for profit, destroying the quality of European HE and making postmodern slaves out of academics and students:

- In June 2008 the QAA put out a statement that degree classifications are ‘arbitrary and unreliable’.

- In October 2008, the THE published its annual league tables.

- A week or two later, the THE publish news suggesting that degree results (which impact on the league tables along with various other QA-style factors) are falsely inflated.

- At the same time, a number of universities announce their intention to abandon traditional degree classifications.

While the government bounces off the league tables and clings to its standard rhetoric that British HE ‘has an international reputation for excellence’, they side-step the reality that such reputation is constructed by the same league tables and QAA outcomes that ignore falsely inflated grades; in other words grades that have been awarded out of financial incentive rather than merit.

This is most damaging for the honest hard-working students whose merits are not fairly recognised alongside others and for the lecturers whose academic judgment is rendered, at best meaningless and at worst, an obstacle to meeting institutional targets, which may lead to them losing their job.

But the QAA and institutional classification systems are not just misleading in ignoring the inflation of grades; they lead to the situation in which universities are forced to compete with one another for funds.

As managers pass responsibility for achieving QAA targets and attracting funding and students down the institutional hierarchy, lecturers find themselves pressurised to make sure that enough students pass their courses and continue their studies to completion and that the academic standards are seen to rise.

In this respect there is no inherent problem with degree classifications themselves as the QAA claims, but rather with the oppressive culture of British HE, which renders the academic judgment of lecturers valueless if it is not simultaneously profitable in the minds of the new HE management class.

Thanks to the QAA regime, universities aim to have a lot of students completing their degrees and getting good grades because it means they will get more money from both the QAA and private sector investors, inevitably attracting more students in the process. No matter if the grades awarded are not earned.

While there may be issues to do with admissions standards, effective learning and teaching and assessment methods, the real problem lies with the so-called ‘quality’ regime of rewarding superficial attainment data, allowing universities to prioritise profit and income and conceptualising lecturers as resources at the service and disposal of the university corporation. The attainment targets are clearly unrealistic with regard to the resources – intellectual or actual – available to reach them.

Such a competitive HE marketplace is against the interests of students, lecturers and the general public alike. Changing the way degrees are classified will not change what students are learning or how sincere hard work and the development of knowledge are rewarded in society.

But neither the THE, the QAA, the government nor the UCU can be trusted to address such oppression and unfairness in British HE, given their roles in causing it.

We want to dismantle these sytems wherever they are: In England like in Italy.

Education must be public!

Access for all paid by the State! Not at the service of journalists!

Trust us. We do not betray students or lecturers!

People are not numbers! For us, people, are beings!

Melody Boyce


Melody Boyce
- e-mail:
- Homepage:


Display the following comment

  1. It's true — Another Disaffected Lecturer