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Assessment boycott: ‘Yes, we might not get our degrees on time, but are we that short-sighted?’

A King's lecturer on why they support the assessment boycott. Photo credit: weareeducationkcl.tumblr.com

by Rashmi Dhanwani, Sebastien Donnadieu, Hannah van den Wijngaard

OUR lecturers have suffered a 14.5% pay cut in real terms in the last five years whilst our vice chancellors and principals have awarded themselves an 8% pay rise.

Senior management earn an average £250,000 whilst sitting on million pound reserves accumulated by the University. All universities can afford to pay lecturers a decent wage but have decided to prioritise profit over fair pay.

We are three MA students mirroring the diversity of the student body: management labels us as Home, EU and International. This same management decided to remain silent and ignore our lecturers’ call for fair pay in HE.

By remaining inactive, they ignored us, the students, implying that we are collateral damage in their profit accumulation. By working with KCLSU we have made a strong campaign to demand fair wages in higher education.

One might ask: “What exactly do you want to protect higher education from?”

Education is a right, not a luxury

In a disenchanted world where market logic has become the norm and invaded all parts of society, thinking outside the box is highly criticised.

This logic is now being applied to higher education, the bottom line being “make profit!” Students have to contract loans and teachers are poorly paid while their workload increases consistently.

A diverse educational institute is a strong one. This squeeze on the pay of lecturers will exclude many from remaining within academia.

The market logic should have boundaries and higher education must remain a right, not a luxury. This is what we want to protect higher education from.

To help staff get fair pay and prevent the marking boycott from happening, we are taking action.

Ripple effect

The first is the making of a Tumblr named “We are education” to show UK citizens that education is a right.The second step will be the organisation of a march to hand in the petition to Sir Rick Trainor and ask him one last time to join us in our fight to protect higher education.

Some students say we should not support our lecturers because the marking boycott would cause a delay to our graduation and prevent us from entering the world of work.

Yes, we might not get our degree on time. But take a step back and think for a minute… are we that short-sighted that we don’t see the ripple effect of this commodification of a basic right?

Should we agree to academics being poorly treated just so that we get our degrees on time?

Do we really want to enter a labour market that treats its workers like disposable pieces of machinery? Do we want to advance an age where young generations have to take on massive debts for an education that might not even help them secure a bright future?

We don’t.

Join us. Staff fairly paid, marks not delayed.

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