Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A Manifesto for Higher Education

My heart warmed to Des Freedman when I read that he hoped to 'inspire debate in staff rooms, offices and tutorials'. Perhaps at Goldsmiths they still have staff rooms and tutorials, but in the rest of the sector even the office (at least the sole-occupant office in which one could have a good debate without unduly disturbing one's colleagues) is well on the way out. We dour (and, of course, bloated) roundhead administrators like to have a Wrong and Romantic cavalier come along to lighten our lives every now and again

But the mainfesto itself was a terrible disappointment. A certain level of flabbiness is inevitable in these kinds of things, but when you can't even achieve precision in what you want abolished ('Scrapping of the National Student Survey and other forms of evaluation which perpetuate cultures of ‘customer satisfaction’ and quality control') then there isn't much hope for your positive programme. And if you are going to be Romantic in your wrongness, it also helps if fewer than half of your demands are for people to give you more money and better benefits.

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