Letter: Quality assumption

January 25, 2002

I'm glad Peter Williams wants a proper debate on the meaning of "quality" and "accountability", (Opinion, THES , January 11). In fact such a debate exists already, though it has been ignored by the Quality Assurance Agency and - it must be said - the media.

Academics have published detailed criticisms of the QAA and other public-sector monitoring agencies that have been ignored. We are simultaneously taunted for having no arguments and ignored when we put arguments forward.

Williams complains: "I still have to explain to academics what quality is in higher education." Does he really think it is a matter of his "explaining" it to the rest of us?

If his interest in debate is not entirely cynical, he should respond to the numerous criticisms of an agency that assumes it is "assuring quality".

If he is really unaware of these, I'd be happy to supply him with a reading list.

Michael Loughlin
Manchester Metropolitan University

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