Sunday, September 10, 2006

Be There . . . Or Else!

Imagine being expelled from your university for cutting class.

A number of British universities, including Oxford, have introduced obligatory contracts to ensure the good--and even studious--behavior of undergraduate students. Chester University's contract, for example, includes the obligation to "study diligently, and to attend promptly and participate appropriately at lectures, courses, classes, seminars, tutorials, work placements and other activities which form part of the programme as required."

The National Union of Students has complained that the contracts fail to include any obligation on the part of the universities requiring them to ensure that their classes are worth attending. As an editorial in tomorrow's edition of The Oxford Student notes, "If a contract is to bind students to attending lectures and tutorials, surely it should also bind the university to specifying levels of teaching provision."

I'm with the students on this one. I'd hate to think that the only reason students were attending my class was their fear of being expelled from the university.