Bristol University students have submitted a massive, documented complaint about poor teaching standards, reflected in national anger, unveiled in the Office for the Independent Adjudicator’s record rise in complaints from students. The charge is simple, they’re charging more for less. This has been followed up by a Facebook protest claiming that a recent exam bore little relation to what was taught on the course and was riddled with errors.
Higher Education needs to wisen up. The world has changed and the salad days are over. Across the land students are demanding a better education for the fees, Now that they’re paying personally, the lazy grove of academe is filling with paying customers demanding something in return for their debt. They’re paying customers – yes customers. And they’re paying large sums that will hang over them for years as debt. As we’re in recession, repayment has become more difficult as has the job market. All the assumptions about graduates earning power need to be revised.
Students are no longer compliant learners. This generation have been brought up being in control of the media they use (online) and can readily organise and complain. The digital genie is out of the bottle and analogue academics have been slow to respond.
My generation put up with the appalling standards of teaching and largely skipped lectures, knowing full well that it would make little difference in terms of achievement. Has much changed? I don’t think so. The Lifelong Learning Sector Skills Council (if you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry, few have) responsible for overseeing standards in Higher Education has, in a cowardly fashion, simply left HE to police itself in this matter – a big mistake. Go to any conference and listen to the appalling talks given by supposed expert academics and you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about here – unprofessionalism.