Essential assessment

…It is really surprising that so many accomplished university professors are avoiding any involvement in an ongoing debate about university assessment, fearful of possible conflict with union leaders. It is conceivable that they may disagree with the method of assessment being proposed by the government. However, they cannot object to the need for such an evaluation process. It is not entirely clear to what extent the autonomy of universities will be affected by such a system. It is likely that it would expose the shortcomings of individual institutions. But surely the regular assessment of universities is the best way of boosting their autonomy, by increasing their sense of responsibility. The causes of the much-criticized «commercialization» of university education are equally unclear. Undoubtedly, people have the right to know what sort of universities they send their children to – whether specific universities and departments have been evaluated as good and effective or problematic and inadequate. One cannot fail to notice the proliferation of useless degrees and unemployed university graduates… Assessment may improve this situation but it demands the involvement of both university and government officials.