No star ratings

April 5, 2018

Cathy Shrank is right to take the universities minister, Sam Gyimah, to task over his plans to introduce consumer-style ratings for degree courses, but I’m not sure she goes far enough (“Moneysupermarket ratings will not work for university courses, Mr Gyimah”, Opinion, 22 March). The minister’s analogy is both inapt and inept – aside, of course, from the narrative such language constructs and frames.

First, is there any other consumer relationship where the value of what I pay for is in part down to my effort? That I don’t speak German doesn’t give me the right to demand a lesser price for a work by Brecht, or to insist that the bookseller take it back when it turns out that I can’t read it. Second, not only will rating degrees by earnings spur graduates to take better-paid jobs in London, as Shrank argues, it will almost inevitably feed its way somehow into managerial pressure on academic staff when the students come to speak to them about life after university, and eventually perhaps even become a target by which we can be measured and then berated when we fall short.

David Mead
Professor of UK human rights law
UEA Law School
University of East Anglia


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@timeshighereducation.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

Please login or register to read this article

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments