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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. [Volume 39, Number 19, 1976.]

Editorial — Who Controls Our Lives?

page 2


Who Controls Our Lives?

This week's forum on "Why am I pissed off with Varsity?" comes as a climax to the year's activities on the education front.

In last week's Salient the Head of the Teaching and Research Centre, Professor Clift, agreed that 1976 has seen an increase in the number of students analysing and criticising the content, assessment methods and teaching practices adopted in their respectives courses.

Every issue of Salient has had at least one article from students commenting on particular courses or departments in which they are studying. Some articles have been systematic and detailed while others have been shallow and emotional. But all of them have pointed to an increasing willingness of students' to speak out and act to combat their frustration.

During the year the Sociology debate has led to the formation of a Sociology Action Group, the grievances in English have resulted in the English Club, and this week Political Science students will get together to reform the Political Science society.

Students in these department are discontented for a number of different reasons, whether they be workload or assessment problems, disagreement over course content, or frustration with the lecturer's teaching methods.

However, one things stands out clearly. We must get together and analyse what the key problems really are. Why is it that students feel powerless in the face of overpowering workloads, unfair methods of assessment and course content which in many cases is irrelevant to gaining any understanding of the world we live in?

The "Why am I pissed off with Varsity?" forum in 1973 highlighted the workload problems which had been brought on by in-term final assessment. It did its job of forcing the university to think about the effects of unrestrained internal assessment. But very little was done in developing student analysis of the wider problems of student control over the areas of workload, assessment and course content.

These questions can only be answered if we all leave our perches in the library for a couple of hours, and get down to discussing the way ahead. It's time to move!

—John Ryall.