Spelling out the real problems 2

February 17, 2006

Your report on illiterate freshers reveals what teaching staff have been saying for years.

Many factors degrade the student learning experience. These include inadequate basic skills, a culture of target manipulation on one side and creative plagiarism on the other, the myth that higher education is about spoon-feeding a consumable commodity and the notion that the situation can be retrieved by "managing" staff so that they are reduced to the status of entertaining conduits for workplace-related skills.

These ills are the result of mismanagement at all levels from the Government down. Senior management must show real leadership qualities and cause sleepless nights at the Department for Education and Skills and the Treasury.

Within universities, power and resources must flow back from managers and trainers towards those whose main role is teaching students. They know the problems and the practical solutions.

Philip Burgess
Dundee University

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