The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is being implemented by government as a means to increase tuition fees and introduce a market amongst Universities & Colleges.
In short, TEF is a system that looks to award institutions an award (Gold, Silver & Bronze) based on the ‘excellence’ of their teaching. To grade Universities the government will use a number of metrics, including; the number of graduates in employment or further study, the level of that employment, graduate starting salary and most significantly, student’s satisfaction with their course using data from the National Student Survey (NSS).
Last year at the National Union of Students (NUS) conference, the leaders of Students’ Unions from around the country voted to boycott the NSS. The idea behind this is that the Teaching Excellence Framework will be disrupted without the information that it needs from the National Student Survey.
The NUS has asked all Students’ Union’s to support the boycott. However lots of Students’ Unions around the country have refused to boycott the survey as the National Student Survey is a powerful tool Students’ Unions can use to help improve their Universities for their students.
The position of Brighton Students’ Union
As the full-time officer team, we have decided that we will not be actively promoting the NSS as we have done in previous years, neither shall we be supporting any other activities that lead to the increase in tuition fees.
However, we are not sure that a boycott will be successful in bringing down the Teaching Excellence Framework. We also really value the data that we get from the NSS and it helps us to make improvements on your courses.
As a team we have decided that we will produce and communicate articles and opinions from both sides of the argument so that you are able to make up your own mind whether or not to support the boycott.
Ultimately however, the decision on whether Brighton Students’ Union supports the NUS Boycott is down to our Union Council. On Thursday 2nd February at 5.30pm, Union Council will be meeting in LT1, Cockcroft, Moulsecoomb. At this meeting we will be discussing the Change It Idea, Oppose the Teaching Excellence Framework. Union Council is open to all students to attend and join in the debate, however only elected members of Union Council can vote.
Please find below a selection of articles that explain the two sides of the NSS Boycott Debate: