‘Independent’ governors don’t know what’s going on

“… Thanks to the requirement of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 that ‘at least half’ of the members of a governing body be ‘independent members’ – external to the university and uninvolved in its affairs – governors must sit in a hovercraft-on-a-mission, gazing at the horizon and approving strategic directives, with little understanding of the academic work of those teaching and researching in them. Can that possibly be risk-free? It is now an open secret that the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) knows there are problems in getting the members of university governing bodies to do the job properly. It has always been preposterous to put people in charge of universities without requiring them to demonstrate that they understand what they are to ‘supervise’, have the relevant skills, and are not too busy to do the job …” (more)

[Gillian Evans, Guardian, 10 February]

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