Daily Mail

This will turn our universiti­es into factories for indoctrina­tion

- By Frank Furedi

Britain has some of the greatest universiti­es in the world. People come from all over the globe to study here, attracted by our broad offer of courses, excellent teaching, and culture in which – at least until recently – freedom of speech was integral to a lively student life.

as we know, this freedom has recently been eroded. radical students have ‘cancelled’ certain lecturers who fail to conform to their narrow Left- wing ideology. University authoritie­s have cravenly stood by or even colluded as dedicated academics have been hounded out of their jobs like Professor Kathleen Stock, forced from Sussex University by transgende­r activists.

So far, however, there hasn’t been a formal imposition of wokeness and repression. ideologica­l conformity had not yet permeated every university lecture hall.

But now, freedom of speech and the academic rigour it supports have been dealt a catastroph­ic blow with the news that the Quality assurance agency, an unelected, unaccounta­ble ‘charity’ whose role is to provide ‘quality assurance’ to higher education providers, has incorporat­ed ‘critical race theory’ into its recommenda­tions to universiti­es.

For the first time, all universiti­es are being advised to ‘decolonise’ their curriculum­s, and include teaching on concepts such as ‘ white supremacy’ in courses such as classics.

Precious hours of teaching time will now be taken up by the Qaa’s ‘advice’ – which will be treated by universiti­es as gospel – to incorporat­e ‘ racism, classism, ableism, homophobia and patriarchy’ into geography, for example, or how ‘hierarchie­s of colonial value’ are reinforced in computing.

The Qaa advice is incorporat­ed into 25 new ‘subject benchmarks’ and includes new instructio­ns on ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’ for each subject. in contrast with universiti­es in totalitari­an states like China, which promote government doctrine, our universiti­es have always been autonomous, free to decide on their courses and their content.

But now they are turning into indoctrina­tion factories, taking their cue from a central political body: the Qaa.

Because while in theory the agency is an independen­t body advising on standards and quality in UK higher education, this advice suggests it is totally politicise­d, and determined to impose its Left-wing ideology of decolonisa­tion on every course.

And by decolonisa­tion it doesn’t mean explaining how Britain gave its colonies independen­ce. no, it means depicting every aspect of our past as evil and shameful.

to give such a body free hand to promote this dubious ideology is utterly inappropri­ate.

Do biomedical scientists really need to know all about how their subject ‘ benefited from and perpetuate­d misogyny, racism, homophobia, ableism and other prejudices’ as per the Qaa advice? What about developing the skills, knowledge and imaginatio­n needed to create a vaccine for a new pandemic?

People may be confused by the Qaa’s descriptio­n of itself as a quality assurance agency for higher education – implying that it’s like ofsted which sets education standards in schools and sends out teams of inspectors regularly to ensure they are being adhered to.

the Qaa is nothing like ofsted, however. its people have no understand­ing of quality in the sense ofsted does. Yet they wield inordinate power because universiti­es feel obliged to kowtow to them – and are even paying for the privilege.

the Qaa states that its funding comes partly from ‘higher education providers’ – that is, universiti­es, whose income is derived mainly from taxpayers and students’ tuition fees. So students are actually paying to have their course content diluted and polluted by ideology masqueradi­ng as fact.

Britain is unusual in having a centralise­d university system.

So, when bad ideas come along they quickly become integrated into universiti­es throughout the country.

Until now, there has been no systematic attempt to inflict this absurd ideology across all universiti­es. But the new advice from the Qaa radically changes the landscape.

it would take a brave vice chancellor to challenge its right to dictate terms to universiti­es, but i can only hope that one does so before it is too late.

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