Student power

The debate on student power was initiated by Harriet Swain  and Liam Burns’ in the pages of the Guardian. We continued the debate on the pages of the EAN blog which in turn led to Michael Chessum’s contribution in the Guardian. 

The contributions below don’t necessarily reflect all opinions represented in the Education Activist Network but seek to make a contribution to the work of EAN and the wider student movement. If you would like to submit a contribution please email educationactivist@gmail.com and we will publish them.

Mark Bergfeld writes:

Rather than co-operation students are being co-opted and lecturers forced to compete against each other. In one section of the HE White Paper, Willetts writes about ‘putting students into the driving seat’. The only problem is that he has tied us to the seat and set the car on fire!

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Ross Speer wrote:

Each extension of this sort of ‘student power’ comes with a corresponding loss of power for academics. Student power becomes less about asserting ourselves and more about curbing pesky lecturers. At my university (Queen Mary, University of London) our student led teaching award has not been so much used to profile great lecturers as to allow management to single out those not nominated as bad lecturers.

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Alan Sears wrote:

The most important counter-weight to participation on management terms is a genuinely mobilized student body. Student representatives who are held accountable at genuinely democratic members meetings, where real discussions about the direction of the education system are on the agenda, will do far better at expanding student power than those who become captive to the processes and limitations of university committee work.

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