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Michael Gove, Sec of State for Education

Michael Gove, Sec of State for Education

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Published by jeff_admon
Letter to the Rt. Honourable Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education

Sent Jan. 29, 2013
Letter to the Rt. Honourable Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education

Sent Jan. 29, 2013

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: jeff_admon on Feb 05, 2013
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06/15/2013

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The Rt. Honourable Michael Gove MP Jan. 29, 2013Member of Parliament for Surrey HeathSecretary of State for Educationministers@education.gsi.gov.uk  Sec-OF-STATE.PS@education.gsi.gov.uk  Dear Mr. Gove,I am an American external student attending the University of London (UoL) InternationalProgrammes
(formerly „External Programmes‟)
. I am writing to you because a grave injustice is beingperpetrated against tens of thousands of foreign students from around the globe at UoL InternationalProgrammes, and as foreigners we have no elected representative in the UK to whom we can turn. Sinceyou are the
 
Secretary of State for Education, I wanted to raise this concern with you, since it is withinyour power to right this wrong.I am a 35 year old engineer residing in Oklahoma USA in the final year of my LL.B. studies. I amlikely the only student from Oklahoma attending the program, and currently have a 2:1 average, placingme in the top 10% of my class. Due to my genuine belief in England and admiration for its legaltraditions which have been a light to the world, I preferred to pursue an LL.B. at UoL instead of studyinglaw in the US, and for the past two and half years have invested tireless effort into my studies with thehope of achieving marks that would permit me entrance to a graduate law program in either Oxford orCambridge.So you are aware, the International Programmes operates via correspondence
 – 
our subject guidesand textbooks are mailed to us, and additional resources are provided online. From the time which wereceive our learning materials in the post, we have approximately seven months to prepare for our finalexams. Each of these annual exams is three hours, taken at specified testing centres, and the marks wereceive are the sole determinant for our final grades.The substantial quality of the law program is excellent, yet it has a major flaw in that there is
noopenness and transparency
in the most important measures our studies
 – 
our
grading
. For the past twoyears I have been continually advocating for greater transparency in grading and have written multipleemails to the program Director, but
no action has been taken
. As independent learners, we arecompletely reliant on the University to provide us with proper direction on how to prepare for exams, yet
 
the only
specific
guidance we receive are examiner reports, which are overly-general and very lacking,and in no way properly prepare us. In addition to this, our graded exam scripts, the
only interaction weever have
with an academician at the University, are
never returned to us
. The reason for this wasexplained to me in a formal response to one of my letters by the Director of Corporate Performance andQuality, where she stated
“Students do not have the right to the return of examinations scripts which are
exempt under the freedom of information legislation.
Additionally, from discussions I have had withmany students, it seems as though grades are not based on any set standard or benchmark, and are purelysubjective. This is a problem that must be remedied, and can only be addressed through greatertransparency. Lastly, our grades cannot be appealed, and marks awarded by mysterious examiners whomwe do not know nor have any interaction with, are final.As external students, we have no benefit of interaction with professors or lecturers. All the moreso, the University should provide us ample feedback so we can progress scholastically and learn how toimprove as we progress in our studies, yet, despite this, the University provides us nearly zero feedback.In summary, our grades and in many ways our futures (potential employment and further educationalpursuits) are determined in the dark, and we are not provided any guidance on how to improve.These rigid university policies do not advance our education, they impede it. They drain ourdesire to study and create animosity and loathing for the institution and sully on the reputation of Englandand English law among the many thousands of foreign students who attend the programmes
 – 
many of whom reside in third world countries and for whom the price of this education is very steep. This shouldnot be so. English law and justice is a beacon of hope to the world, and institutions that teach this lawhave an obligation to treat its students fairly and justly.Since the University has taken no action regarding my requests, and because time is of theessence considering that our 2013 exams commence in May, I took the sole initiative to build the websitewww.llbstudentvoice.org to air my grievances and advocate for many students who feel as I do. Attachedto the website is petition(goo.gl/xF4MC)with a list of requested changes to the programmes, and in the past three weeks since being online it has received 73 votes from students around the globe. I havereceived many additional emails from students stating their support for my cause, but expressingunwillingness to broadcast their opinions for fear of retribution by the University in marking their exams,a fear which I feel is unfounded but understandable, and emanates from the lack of openness andtransparency in grading. Additionally, many of these foreign students interpret that England is somehowcomplicit in this injustice perpetrated against them since no external force has compelled the University to

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