18th February 2011 at 00:00

Faceless leaders

An impoverished population driven by anger at rising prices. A remote leadership exercising censorship to cling on to power. Is it Egypt or is it the Institute for Learning (IfL)?

FErret only asks as the IfL's decision to charge impoverished lecturers a compulsory fee of pound;68 a year (FE Focus, 11 February) seems to have led to the mysterious disappearance of its Facebook page.

After forcing members to undergo the standard Facebook indignity of "liking" the IfL in order to post messages about it, a robust discussion began which included some material that deputy chief executive Lee Davies objected to (a private message of his had been reposted and there was some mild name-calling).

So the entire page was deleted, meaning that the IfL's website draws a blank if you follow its invitation to "Find us on Facebook". It's not quite Hosni Mubarak shutting off the whole internet, but can the hired thugs be far behind?

Theatre of dreams

Congratulations to Bryan Mills, head of business studies at Cornwall College, for completing 24 hours of continuous lecturing to raise money for Chloe Edwards, a seven-year-old with cancer.

From 9am last Tuesday to 9am the following morning, his series of lectures - given in one and two-hour chunks - took in business strategy, carbon reduction, financial instruments, dividend valuation and, somehow, Harry Potter.

FErret doubts that anyone managed to sit through the entire performance to join all the dots: some rehearsal footage, which just possibly was a tiny bit staged, shows row upon row of sleeping students.

Normally it takes considerably less than 24 hours to have such an effect on the contemporary teenager, but well done all the same to Dr Mills for his persistence.

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