The National Union of Students (NUS) has recently called on final year students to boycott the National Student Survey (NSS), which exists to gauge student satisfaction with their university experience.
The Union would like to clarify to students at Manchester Metropolitan that we are not participating in this boycott and we encourage all eligible students to complete the 2017 survey.
NUS believes this boycott will undermine the UK Government’s controversial higher education reforms, which will use the NSS to measure teaching quality from a student’s perspective.
We are sympathetic to the concerns expressed by our colleagues in other students’ unions. We have our own concerns about the proposed reforms and have campaigned against some aspects of the Government’s plans.
However, The Union does not believe that boycotting the NSS is an effective way to challenge the proposed reforms. It risks being counterproductive. If the NSS ceases to be useful due to low responses, the Government could simply discount student opinion altogether.
We did not support the boycott when it was passed at NUS National Conference 2016. Late last year we also voted for an emergency motion urging NUS to seriously reconsider this risky strategy . We are pleased that, so far, more than 90% of eligible NSS participants have not joined the boycott campaign.
In 2014, The Union was praised by NUS for collaborating with Manchester Metropolitan to significantly raise our NSS response rate. We believe that the NSS is the best source of data on, and an important measure of, student satisfaction. So plans to change the Government’s reforms should not attack one of the most valued sources of national student opinion.
Manchester Met has showed a strong commitment to acting on student opinion. So we are keen to protect the mechanisms that allow the University to access these views. The higher the response rate for NSS, the more likely the University and Union can work together to make positive changes to the overall university experience and to the experience on individual programmes and courses.
We encourage all Manchester Met students to complete the NSS as normal.
President, The Union
Education Officer, The Union