All big bucks but little bang?

August 17, 2007

Although I can sympathise with Alan Jenkins ("Professor says teaching focus blocked career", August 10), I fail to see why this story is news any longer.

We all now know that in a market-based economy the distribution of resources follows the price signals. A university's income largely depends on government funding, which depends on the number of students, project grants and grants tied to the research assessment exercise rating.

Nowhere is it specified that the quality of teaching has anything to do with the share of the teaching-related funding. Under these circumstances, it is only logical that universities would allocate their resources accordingly. The logic of the system dictates: get some students, get research grants and aim for the highest possible RAE rating and do not put any emphasis on the quality of teaching.

If Jenkins decides to ignore making money for his employer, while caring for his students to the best of his ability and continuing to think that students are a vital reason for our existence, he has only himself to blame.

Dipak Ghosh

Stirling University

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