Who’s afraid of evaluation?

University professors will go on strike today, protesting the periodic assessment of their teaching skills and research work. I suggest striking professors bring their student years to mind before answering a simple question: Who used to be afraid of examinations and evaluation? Surely not the hardworking and attentive students. Rather, it was the negligent and lazy ones. Those who finally succeeded in becoming full-time professors presumably belonged to the first category of students. They were the students who were keen to compete with others for awards and distinctions. It would look suspicious if one could become a university professor by following any other path. In that case, no one would wonder why they are doing everything they can to avoid having their qualifications rated. Given that this cannot be the reason behind the collective refusal of university professors to undergo an evaluation process, we have to go with the official explanation given by the university professors’ union, which said that the plans proposed by the Education Ministry would «discredit and downgrade state university institutions» and also accused the responsible minister of indulging in a «systematic campaign to defame universities and university professors.» In other words, the union deems that its contribution is of the highest standards, so professors should expect nothing but praise and rewards from the state, rebuffing any assessment as unacceptable and defamatory. It’s here that things begin to look suspicious. Would the assessment process proposed by the ministry perhaps merely serve to reveal the sorry state of higher education? Are professors confusing slander with the allocation of responsibility? Is the current situation perhaps convenient for professors, causing them to be wary of any plan that allocates them a share of the burden of reforming higher education?

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