STUDENTS National Union of Students (NUS) conference voted yesterday to thwart Tory plans to introduce harsher assessments for college teachers.
The motion to boycott government surveys which feed into teaching assessments passed with a comfortable majority, to the delight of free education campaigners.
It was drafted by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts. Recently elected University of Warwick education officer Hope Worsdale explained: “These surveys are essential to maintaining a market in education, which turns students into little more than consumers.
“The National Student Survey is used as a weapon to beat academic staff with and as an excuse to cut courses and close departments.”
The Tories’ higher education green paper proposes the teaching excellence framework (TEF) assessment scheme, which will use statistics from the surveys. Academic staff and programmes would see their performance based on students’ personal opinion.
It is also suspected that universities scoring highly on their TEF would be encouraged to raise their tuition fees.
Campaign committee member Anastazja Oppenheim said that through sabotage “the results would become of little use and would wreck plans for the TEF, having a knock-on impact on other higher-education reforms and causing havoc with other procedures already in place to manage and marketise the sector.”
NUS officers will now carry on research on how to make the boycott most effective.
In June, students are expected to tell the government they will not participate in the surveys unless the proposed higher-education reforms are withdrawn.