The marking boycott at universities is having an impact on students

Due to a marking boycott by staff affecting exams and assessments, some students at UK universities may not receive their grades this summer.

The marking boycott is a form of action taken by members of the University and College Union (UCU) at 145 UK institutions, as part of a dispute regarding pay and working conditions.

The UCU marking and assessment boycott is a protest where union members are refusing to mark university exams and assessments. This boycott started on 20 April and will persist until employers present an enhanced offer concerning pay and conditions, as stated by the UCU.

The marking boycott by the UCU is expected to have an impact on more than half a million graduations this summer, according to the UCU.

However, it is important to note that not all university staff are members of the UCU.

According to a survey by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), less than 10% of students are expected to be impacted by the boycott.

Universities are autonomously determining measures to mitigate the impact of the marking boycott at their respective institutions, resulting in varying effects on students.

According to the University of Cambridge, students will be unable to graduate until all their work has been marked. Acting vice-chancellor Anthony Freeling stated that a majority of the approximately 4,500 students expecting to graduate would likely be affected by this measure.

Durham University has announced that a “considerable number” of its students will experience delays in receiving their marks and final degree results.

Certain universities will permit students to progress to the next stage of their studies based on predicted grades or marks obtained from alternative assessments.

Despite BBC News reaching out to the 10 largest UK universities in terms of student population, some of them were unable to provide confirmation regarding the status of graduations.

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIAHE) has instructed universities in England and Wales to offer greater clarity to students regarding the situation.

The Department for Education has revealed temporary plans allowing trainee teachers to commence their postgraduate courses, even if they have not yet received their degree results.

The marking boycott is occurring as part of a larger dispute concerning pay and working conditions. This action is categorized as “action short of a strike” and follows previous instances of staff walking out.

Members of the UCU have gone on strike at 83 universities due to concerns regarding pay and working conditions. Additionally, members at five universities have walked out specifically regarding pensions, while 62 institutions have experienced strikes related to both issues.



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By Ryan

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