Layers of hypocrisy in TEF reaction

July 20, 2017

Emilie Murphy was not the first academic to declare that the teaching excellence framework could not possibly be credible “without anyone actually stepping foot inside classrooms and lecture theatres” (“Stop celebrating the TEF results – your hypocrisy is galling and unhelpful”, Opinions, 6 July).

Some of us can recall that in the 1980s “the industry” resisted any attempt to have itself externally inspected. Instead, a toothless watchdog – since reincarnated many times under different acronyms – was invented as an industry creature. And also, the vast and costly internal-to-each-university quality-control “policing” apparatus does not uniformly actually intrude on seminars and lectures.

So it is hypocrisy indeed for academe to protest that a TEF has had to be based on proxy measures when the last thing that academe and its management would want is anybody with any expertise auditing the performance of the average-Joe academic. It would be prudent and scholarly if academics sounding off on the TEF issue bothered first to check the sad history of the quality and standards saga that has so short-changed the student-consumer over the past three decades.

David Palfreyman
Bursar and fellow, New College, Oxford
Director, Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies

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