TEF panel duffers

Director of Exclusion, Division and Inequality, Nona McDuffer, has been appointed to HEFCE’s TEF panel, the group of “teaching experts” who are going to cook the higher educational goose, whose days of golden egg laying seem to be over. Could this be an advantage to Kingston, an insider on a committee whose decisions are sure to have a long lasting effect on us? But then one immediately wonders how the ineffectual boss of EDI who presides over a very unequal Kingston University is qualified for this position. According to her, she can bring a “wide range of experience” to the job. Not that she appears to have much teaching experience, a little bit in FE though it appears none in universities. So what is the expertise she can bring to the panel?

Thinking about the way these things work, usually in a cloud of management smoke and bluster, Nona would seem ably qualified. Those who actually teach in higher education expect Government-influenced judgements from the TEF that will have a serious impact on the conduct of universities, all leading to the gradual privatisation of HE provision. Anyone but a fool or a Johnson can see where this will lead. Since teaching quality assessment will often prove difficult to justify, what the TEF panel is going to need are people who can produce cat’s cradles of words to stifle any serious debate on the decisions to come. Expect quite a few nona-entities to jump on this rickety privatisation panel.

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