Universities downplay the impact of the marking boycott, according to a union claim

A union claims that university employers are downplaying the impact of a marking boycott on students. According to the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), a survey indicates that most students’ graduations are unaffected by the boycott.

According to the University and College Union (UCU), the survey conducted only represents a fraction of the universities impacted by the boycott.

The marking boycott is a component of an ongoing dispute concerning pay and working conditions.

Graduation delays and missing final marks have been reported by some students.

‘My future hangs in the balance,’ expressed Jess Wilson, a 23-year-old graduate from the University of Glasgow, who has not yet received her final grade.

Having secured a conditional offer for a Masters course in global health starting in September, Jess Wilson must demonstrate that she has obtained a 2:1 or higher to secure her place. Expressing the significance of her degree, the sociology student emphasized, “This is my future – my entire plan for what I want to do in life rests on this degree.”

Expressing her disappointment and frustration, Jess Wilson, hailing from a location near Edinburgh, criticized the university for its poor communication, describing it as “abysmal.” She shared her feelings, stating, “I’m heartbroken, but I’m also so, so angry that the university let it get to this point.”

Apologizing for any distress caused to students, the university assures on its website that it is making every effort to minimize the impact on students’ academic journey.

The spokesperson further emphasized that no student would be hindered from graduating or progressing forward as a result of the industrial action.

According to Ms. Wilson, the marking boycott adds to the challenges she has faced during her four years at university, which were already marked by disruptions from industrial action and online learning during the pandemic. She described her experience as “soul-destroying” and “lacklustre.”

The UCEA, the employer involved in the dispute, conducted a survey on Thursday to assess the impact of the marking and assessment boycott on graduations. Out of the 144 institutions represented, 70 responded to the question regarding the effect on graduations.


Out of the 70 institutions that responded to the survey:

  • 50 institutions stated that fewer than 2% of students would be unable to graduate due to the marking boycott.
  • Three institutions estimated that 2-9% of students would be unable to graduate.
  • One institution reported that 25-49% of students would be unable to graduate.
  • One institution indicated that more than 50% of students would be unable to graduate.
  • 14 institutions were uncertain about the impact of the boycott.


Raj Jethwa, the chief of UCEA, mentioned in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today program that the survey results indicated that the “majority of students” were not facing graduation without their final marks. However, he acknowledged that this may provide little comfort to the few students who are affected by the boycott.

According to Jenny Sherrard, the head of policy at UCU, UCEA is attempting to downplay the significance of the boycott. Jo Grady, the union’s general secretary, further noted that the figures provided by UCEA only represent less than half of the affected universities.

Additionally, more than 5,000 students have already been informed that their degrees have been impacted by the industrial action.

Furthermore, UCU members at over 20 universities are going on strike as they claim that their pay is being deducted for participating in the marking boycott, despite fulfilling their regular responsibilities.

According to Dr. Chloe Wallace, the president of the UCU branch and an associate professor in law, Leeds University is threatening to withhold her entire pay for several weeks due to her refusal to complete two days’ worth of marking work.

Dr. Chloe Wallace added that years of deteriorating working conditions, excessive workloads, and precarious contracts have made it impossible to provide students with the quality education they deserve.



Source : bbc.com

By Ryan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *