Low pay for external examiners threatens the long-term viability of quality assurance, the Association of University Teachers has warned, writes Phil Baty.
The association has criticised the Quality Assurance Agency for failing to address the issue of "disgraceful" low pay, and the corresponding recruitment problems, in its recently published code of practice on external examining. It has called for a concerted campaign to raise the status of external examining and set a basic minimum rate.
The QAA warned in its code that institutions should "ensure that they are able to recruit and retain suitable individuals to maintain the effectiveness of the external examining process". But the AUT says that such aspirations are futile without a proper pay structure.
One in six examiners is paid less then the hourly national minimum wage of Pounds 3.60 an hour, according to an AUT survey last year.
AUT general secretary David Triesman has asked the QAA to press the Universities and Colleges Employers Association to set minimum basic pay levels.