Is honesty a policy that pays off? 1

May 19, 2006

It would seem that truth is no longer a quality to be pursued, as illustrated by the case of Erik Ringmar and his talk at the London School of Economics open day ("Open day talk brings job to a close", May 12).

Why is such honesty and transparency unacceptable? I know of a number of universities where final-year undergraduates are fortunate if they have real teaching for one hour a month, delivered by first-year PhD students (with no teacher training).

Higher education in the UK is seriously deceiving itself if it considers it is delivering quality teaching to undergraduates.

And when this is related to the pay demands, the immorality is worse ("Top cop gets £20K more than professor", May 12). Academics in higher education are well-off when measured against others with genuine workloads.

If they seriously believe otherwise then maybe it should be made compulsory for them to work for at least a year in further education.

It is not valid to compare the pay of a professor with that of a chief superintendent or a secondary school headteacher. Let's be completely objective and honest: a professor could not cope with the workload of a chief superintendent or a secondary head, let alone have the level of experience that is needed.

Maybe I'm being naive but given the serious lack of teaching commitment by academics, what gives them the moral right to use students as a weapon to fight their employers with?

William Gramm


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