Lecturers loathe to report on GNVQs

November 11, 1994

Those who thought that Christina Townsend would be a new broom will be disappointed to discover (THES, November 4) that she does not intend to sweep clean but only to spread more whitewash.

We have been approached in the past six months by more than a hundred further education lecturers concerned about declining GNVQ standards. If the new chief executive of BTEC thinks that anxiety is confined to "a handful of individuals", there is a reason for her ignorance. Lecturers do not bring their complaints to her because they do not believe she will protect them from victimisation.

BTEC assure us that they will "always, as a matter of principle, respond to any direct approach", but they add that "the conditions of employment between the college and lecturer lie outside their area of legitimate interest". What this means in plain English is that when, as is happening, someone is sacked for complaining about the decline, the body supposedly responsible for maintaining standards will not lift a finger to help.

ANNE MACLEAN Secretary Council for Academic Freedom and Academic Standards University College of Swansea.

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