Paper weighting

September 12, 2013

I don’t quite get the “I’ve been teaching 30 years, why do I need a qualification?” argument. (“State puts weight behind teaching qualification data”, News, 29 August.) If experience is so superior, why do we offer degrees?

Let’s try a little experiment. Critics of the suggestion should work their way through the following list: cutting hair; driving; eye testing; defending clients in court; pulling teeth; performing appendectomies; flying commercial airliners; analysing cervical smears; supervising PhDs; teaching in primary schools; teaching in secondary schools; teaching in university. At which point would you be happy to accept a lack of qualifications? I suspect that most people would stop at cutting hair, especially if it were their own hair being cut at the time of the revelation.

Yes, I’m being silly. But the argument against teaching qualifications is pretty silly, too, particularly if the best reason that can be given is “I’m too busy doing research to get one”. I’m sure that will fill potential students with nothing but confidence.

Jonathan Baldwin
Cambridge

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