The nanny assessors

May 15, 1998

MARTIN Brady misses the point of the argument about the Quality Assessment Agency (Letters, THES, May 1). Universities are not objecting to accountability but to inappropriate interference in a primary aim: to educate students.

If universities were taking the money and not producing graduates, for example, then there would be legitimate complaint, but this is not the case. Lists of graduates and annual reports are in the public domain and subject to scrutiny.

Universities are subjected to teaching and research assessments and accreditation visits in professional disciplines. There may be complaints about red tape, but no objection to the principle.

The complaint is about power being given to individuals from outside an institution to override the collective wisdom and experience, expressed through the academic senate, of those within it on matters of curriculum development and academic standards.

Roland Ibbett, Vice-principal, Old College, University of Edinburgh

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