Tune in to dropouts 1

July 15, 2005

When I read "Dropout push adds to load" (July 1), I was concerned that staff were being blamed for dropouts. I read on and discovered that lecturers were teaching only 150 hours a year (six hours a week in a 25-week year).

As someone whose teaching load when I started lecturing in higher education was 21 hours a week, I wasn't too sympathetic to their plight.

The key issue is teaching first-year students. Huw Benyon is right to insist that lecturers (not PhD students) should be teaching first-year students. It is a disgrace that our "prestigious" universities so frequently leave first-years to the (often untrained) mercies of graduate students.

Lee Harvey
Sheffield Hallam University

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