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Lecturers aren't to blame for university grade inflation ? the government is | David Yarrow

Friday 12th July 2019

The soaring number of first-class degrees is a direct result of our marketised university system

Yet again, universities have been blamed for grade inflation. Responding to findings by the universities regulator, the Office for Students, that there has been an ?unexplained? 80% rise in first class degrees, the education secretary, Damian Hinds attributed this problem to ?unfair practices? by universities. It follows his comments last year that universities ?should be accountable for maintaining the value of the degrees they award?, with fines mooted for those which fail to comply.

This displaces the blame. Grade inflation is a product of the government?s university marketisation agenda and neoliberal policymaking in higher education over the past 20 years. Governments dating back to New Labour have placed an increasing emphasis on delivering ?value for money? to students. Linked to the political decision to introduce (in 1998) and then treble (in 2010) tuition fees, young people have been encouraged to view their education as a financial investment that should deliver a return ? ideally in the form of enhanced labour market prospects. These trends form part of a wider ideology which understands education as a private good and reimagines students as consumers and academics as service providers.

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Taken from the Education | The Guardian RSS feed.

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