Dissenters are the 'life-blood' of FE

13th November 1998 at 00:00
KAREN Yarrow's analysis of further education lecturers' working practices suffers not only from being small-scale and qualitative in nature, but from the fact that in the troubled world of FE there can be a contrast between what people say and what they believe.

"Embracers" cannot really believe in the educational benefits of incorporation unless they are intellectually or morally challenged, in which case they should not be in education, and certainly not at the senior levels that most alleged embracers are to be found.

The only benefits of "reform" have been enhanced salaries for those embracers whose job is to enforce the cuts which have enabled governments to appear more electable.

I am struggling to recognise the category of "accommodators". Those identified in the study are probably aspiring embracers. They care less about their students and their subject than the average dissenter. They are hoping that their best chance of joining the embracers is by keeping their mouths shut and refraining from dissent.

The category of "dissenters" will include many lecturers who are still trying to fulfil their vocation by caring for their students and sharing a passion for their subject.

True, they are "marginalised", and their genuine concerns are dismissed as "dissent", but they nevertheless maintain their motivation, commitment and professionalism despite personal and financial sacrifice.

These dissenters are the life-blood of further education in contrast to the embracers and accommodators who represent the unacceptable face of ambition.

I understand that more money is due to be channelled into further education. I regret that this may be too late for me. I was a practising dissenter until my health failed.

I am currently seeking new opportunities to exercise my strong sense of personal service and maintain my commitment to mathematics education. I seek a healthy institution where lecturers are inspired and supported by genuine educational leadership. Embracers need not apply.

Philip Cooper, 6 Marsh Grove Road, Edgerton, Huddersfield

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