Chris Husbands: Resign from the 'TEF' panel
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Both Sheffield universities have announced they will be increasing their tuition fees, as part of the government’s new Teaching Excellence Framework (‘TEF’).
Many students starting their degrees in 2017 will finish with over £55k of debt. Part of a wider programme of marketisation and privatisation, the ‘TEF’ will rank universities bronze, silver, and gold. Bronze universities will, it appears, be barred from taking international students, and risk closure in favour of private providers. Meanwhile, gold institutions will be able to charge higher and higher fees. Just 22% of 19-year-olds who had been claiming free school meals at the age of 15 went onto university 2013/14. Under the ‘TEF’, the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university will decrease. The pressure staff are under, already far too high, will only get worse. We are witnessing a mental health crisis which will be exacerbated by the ‘TEF’.
We believe that education is a public good and should be free and accessible for all. Our education and research systems should be built, not on competition, but on co-operation.
For these reasons, we, students, staff, and residents of Sheffield, call on Sheffield Hallam University’s Vice Chancellor, Chris Husbands, to resign from his position as Chair of the ‘TEF’ panel.
Commenting on his appointment to the ‘TEF’ panel, Husbands said he hoped that the ‘TEF’ “provides positive outcomes for all students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.” Higher Education unions nationally and locally all agree that the ‘TEF’ will do the opposite of what Husbands purports to hope. We imagine that, in light of the National Union of Students (NUS), the University and College Union (UCU), Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union, and University of Sheffield Students’ Union all voicing their opposition to the ‘TEF’, he no longer considers himself “delighted” to sit on the ‘TEF’ panel. As a result, we call on him to resign.
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