We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The sovietisation of higher education

When I did education blogging I wrote a lot about something I called sovietisation. This referred to the baleful impact upon education of our present government’s mania for setting targets (often involving exam results) and then rewarding institutions according to how well they could fake reaching these targets. In this connection, see this posting by David Hepworth. It is based on a story that has already seen the light of day in Times Higher Education, although I couldn’t get further with the link in Hepworth’s posting than that.

This comment on Hepworth’s piece by a certain Rob Spence deserves, I
…continue The sovietisation of higher education

Francis Gilbert on educational sovietisation

I’ve just done a rather long posting on my Education Blog about a teacher called Francis Gilbert, who has written a book highly critical of government education policies. Put it this way, I classified the post under one of my most frequently used headings: “Sovietisation.” The guts of Sovietisation is when the measuring system imposed from the centre completely overwhelms the activity it is supposedly measuring. In the old USSR, people spent all their time fulfilling quotas, by hook or by crook, as opposed to doing useful work. Now, more and more teachers are pushing, and faking, children through exams.
…continue Francis Gilbert on educational sovietisation

NHS Kremlinology

Back in the bad old days, Kremlinologists used to try to figure out what was going on in the leadership of the USSR by observing signs and portents.

During the Cold War, lack of reliable information about the country forced Western analysts to “read between the lines” and to use the tiniest tidbits, such as the removal of portraits, the rearranging of chairs, positions at the reviewing stand for parades in Red Square, the choice of capital or small initial letters in phrases such as “First Secretary”, the arrangement of articles on the pages of the party newspaper “Pravda” and
…continue NHS Kremlinology

Do not cheat!

One of the more depressing discoveries I made from my first year or two of education blogging (Brian’s Education Blog still not working sorry blah blah) was the inexorable spread of cheating in Britain’s schools and colleges. The BBC reported yesterday that a diktat has just been emitted by a committee you will probably not have heard of until now, called JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), saying that this must stop and here is how blah blah:

A rise in the number of students in the UK, including undergraduates from overseas, is likely to mean increased plagiarism, a report has
…continue Do not cheat!

David Gillies on the non-punishment of academic cheating

A relentless and seemingly unstoppable trend in education in Britain is something which I call, at my Education Blog, sovietisation. This means: desperate quota fulfilment frenzies, and, increasingly, statistical measures of educational success which bear no relation to reality. In a word: cheating. Officially encouraged. With the politicians themselves implicated heavily, because they no more want to face the truth about how well they are really doing than anyone else does.

My latest sovietisation posting contained a big slice from this Telegraph article by Frank Furedi about cheating at university, and David Gillies added this comment by way of confirmation
…continue David Gillies on the non-punishment of academic cheating

Me on Rand – courtesy of the Sunday Times

Yes, I’m ba-ack. Hard disk problems, and then as soon as this was semi-sorted to the point where I was able to start reading Samizdata again, and to think about writing for Samizdata again, I was commanded by the Sunday Times (to whom our editor-in-chief forbids links because they require subscriptions) to write an article about, and I love this, Ayn Rand.

I told them I wasn’t really the person to be doing this, since, how can I put this, I don’t agree with her about, you know, her philosophy. But they were adamant, and my efforts – somewhat shortened
…continue Me on Rand – courtesy of the Sunday Times

Howard Roark laughed

It is a widely accepted axiom that our memory plays tricks on us. I beg to differ; it does not play tricks, it is just pitifully unreliable.

Technology is always a good indicator as to the truth of this. Many of us are rather wary of ‘new fangled things’ when they first appear on the market. But enough of us adopt them to make them viable. Then more of us adopt them and, before long, they are universal.

I bought my first mobile phone (cellphone) back in 1994 and have had one ever since. I was in the minority then.
…continue Howard Roark laughed