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Statement on University of Sussex and the Teaching Excellence Framework

On Friday 25th November 2016, the University of Sussex Council will be voting on whether or not to opt in to year 2 of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

The Students’ Union Executive believe that the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a flawed policy, to the detriment of Higher Education, and should be opposed. We are calling on the University of Sussex to not take part in the TEF and not raise tuition fees for Home/EU undergraduate new and continuing students.

While we welcome any measure which encourages better teaching, we do not believe the TEF is this. We ask that the University of Sussex Council rethink Sussex's participation in the TEF. 

In short, the TEF: 

>  Is a means for the Government to raise tuition fees and indebt a further generation of students
>  Uses spurious metrics with little relation to teaching quality
>  Introduces a new level of bureaucracy which takes resources away from teaching
>  Does not recognise the real issue in teaching quality –  that universities have under-invested in teaching staff
>  Forces students to take financial not educational decisions when applying to university

Quite simply, the TEF, and the current Higher Education Bill that provides its context, are tools to make Higher Education a full-blown marketplace, driving out ‘failing’ institutions whatever the social cost for the communities they are part of. Universities’ generation of income, their profitability, becomes their be all and end all.

The University of Sussex does not have to participate in TEF and does not have to raise tuition fees for its students. It should stand in solidarity with its Students’ Union, students, academics, the Universities and College Union, and the National Union of Students against the TEF.

Teaching excellence is achieved through collaboration, not competition. Sussex has a reputation of being a progressive institution and the forefront of championing social change; the University should live up to this reputation by rejecting the marketisation of education and rejecting the TEF.

We call on University Council to support our campaign by saying ‘TEF OFF’ to the Higher Education Bill, not opting in for year 2 and not raising fees further.

 

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