Students could miss graduating as lecturers plan marking boycott

Thousands of students could miss out on graduating this year as lecturers at 44 universities threaten to boycott the marking of exam papers

  • Professors at universities including Durham and St Andrews issued the threat
  • It comes on top of 15 days of strike action taken by teaching staff so far this year
  • Union boss said it is a response to falling wages, workloads and ‘equality failings
  • One student said: ‘Without [mio] gradi, I’ve literally no idea what will happen
  • Thousands of students could miss out on graduating this year because lecturers are threatening to boycott the marking of exam papers.

    Staff at 44 of the UK’s most prestigious universities, including Durham and St Andrews, are set to strike before the end of the academic term in a row over pay, working conditions and pension packages.

    The action, orchestrated by the University and College Union (UCU), was announced last week and is due to begin on May 23. It comes on top of up to 15 days of strike action taken by teaching staff this year.

    Students told The Mail On Sunday they fear they will be unable to attend Masters courses

    Students told The Mail On Sunday they fear they will be unable to attend Masters courses

    UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘University staff have been clear that many simply cannot contemplate staying in higher education while wages fall, workloads rise, and nothing is done to address the rampant use of insecure contracts or shocking equality failings.’

    Parlando con The Mail domenica, Lucia Botfield, a third-year history student at the University of Nottingham, disse: ‘I’m doing a news journalism Masters next year and I need a 2:1 to get on to the course. Without these grades, I’ve literally no idea what will happen.

    ‘What am I doing all this work for? Why am I in the library 12 ore al giorno, stressing myself out, when there’s a chance my exams might not even be marked and I might not be able to graduate?'

    The 20-year-old added: ‘We’ve had about three months of uninterrupted teaching our whole degree because of Covid and strikes – and it’s just annoying. They have told us nothing.’

    Nel frattempo, undergraduates have been taking to social media to vent their frustration.

    One Durham University student said the move would have an ‘unacceptable’ impact, mentre un altro ha aggiunto: ‘On top of strikes and the marking boycott, what am I paying for?'

    Higher and Further Education Minister Michelle Donelan said: ‘Striking academics have pushed students’ patience to the limit and the latest plans to boycott marking and assessment are a kick in the teeth to those who have studied so hard.

    ‘After the disruption students faced through the pandemic, it is profoundly unjust for lecturers to punish them over an industrial dispute that is not of their making – and it’s no surprise that sympathy with their cause among students looks to have fallen away.’