Friday, 20 January 2017

Faster, Higher, Stronger

It was reported this week that the House of Lords regarded the Government's proposal to categorise universities as gold, silver and bronze as 'extremely damaging'.

Here at Fundermental Towers University (FTU) we wish to distance ourselves from the peers' narrow and antiquated disgust with a viable and popular rating system. Those aged lords and bishops just need to get over themselves and get with the times. Don't they realise that everything is rated these days, and there is no finer system than one based on Olympian metals?

In fact, we would encourage the Government to go further in aligning with the Olympic ideals. Not only should the TEF use these labels, but universities should be expected to demonstrate the Olympic ideals of Citius, Altius, Fortius, or Faster, Higher, Stronger. 

To excel in the TEF, universities should go: 

  • Faster: Universities must be super efficient and speedy in their administration. They should offer places to applicants as soon as they apply, and preferably before. Indeed, to achieve the top medal (we're pushing the Government to introduce a 'Graphene' category), universities should be offering places to the brightest and best before they've even considered going to university. Ideally shortly after they've been conceived. Once enrolled, academics should ensure that all essays are marked before they're written, and exams marked before the candidates uncap their pens. Speed is everything. Well, perhaps second only to the ability to pull a fully laden Hercules plane, but more of that in a minute. 
  • Higher: the UK higher education sector is the very best in the world. However, sometimes this isn't reflected in the super-robust global league tables. The Government should encourage all who aspire to a side order of Platinum to make sure that they only present their - ahem - very best data and make sure that all those foreigners filling in the reputation surveys are bribed persuaded to tell the compilers that all UK universities are marvellous and no, getting a post-Brexit visa was really very easy. It's only through this level of pro-activity that we can ensure we're the very highest in these all important league tables. Either that or tie together the shoelaces of Yale and Harvard. 
  • Stronger: those seeking an Omnium medal must demonstrate that all their academics are strong. This is a key performance indicator. Gone are the days when being brainy was enough. These days our students demand that their lecturers and profs are able to pull a fully laden Hercules plane, randomly throw heavy things, and tear telephone directories in half. How else are we to impress the young? Intelligence? Ha! Oh, you're so terribly twentieth century. 
Yes, FTU is well on track to getting the tippermost of the toppermost medal: a graphene-coated dobule omnium with a side order of platinum. We'll display it with full pride in our trophy cabinet. Right next to the full set of mint Lady Diana commemorative tableware. Look on ye mighty, and despair! 

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