Nomenklatura UK

March 2, 2001

Hugo Radice, director of Leeds University Centre for Russian, Eurasian and Central European Studies, has a novel take on why we complain about the research assessment exercise and the teaching quality assessment.

In this month's issue of Red Pepper magazine, he draws an analogy between the British higher education system and the Soviet mode of production.

"The institutions we work in resemble more and more closely the Soviet form of enterprise. Our activities take place within a rigid hierarchy that runs up through the head of department to the school, faculty, the university as a whole, and thence to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the functional equivalent of Gosplan, the high command of the Soviet planning system...

"Our task is not to generate high quality of learning and teaching but to satisfy the current demands of the quality inspection system, which means producing a Potemkin village, paint scarcely dry on the walls, for the week of inspection by the Quality Assurance Agency."

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