Students don't need 24/7 care 1

April 6, 2007

Come on, lecturers, get a grip! This is maternalism gone mad ("Corporate push spawns 24/7 culture", March 23). Even the most besotted parents don't give 24/7 attention to their newborns. Since our students are adults, we should allow them to fend for themselves occasionally.

What happened to the much-vaunted "educational contracts" that were meant to inform each party of their rights and responsibilities? These should be agreed by all staff in the department and should cover the following:

  • Limited contact details, with the firm instruction that calls will be replied to only within office hours
  • No mobile phone numbers
  • Use of the "out-of-office" message every night on your e-mail account
  • A separate "student" mail box in each staff account
  • Information to students that you are available for them at certain times only and that you will be undertaking research or other activities at other times
  • Information to students that e-mail transactions after, say, 6pm will be dealt with the next working day.

Finally, why not have a rota of locums for real emergencies, like your friendly medical practice. Your GP doesn't work 24/7, so why should you?

E. A. Carrey.
University College London Institute of Child Health

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