In service 1

January 3, 2003

There is a major weakness in Roger Waterhouse's contention that education is "just another service industry" (Soapbox, THES , December 20/). No normal service industry depends for its success on the shared commitment, effort and performance of its customers - the students. Although the student experience has many service-industry features as far as the quality of teaching and support are concerned, this is not the same for "learning" or for student achievement.

We should beware of promoting any notions of delivery that imply that supply-side service improvements alone can achieve the necessary customer achievement and satisfaction.

David Gay
Deputy director, Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College

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