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5:56pm on Wednesday, 12th October, 2005:

Course Assessment


Skillset has announced its long-awaited accreditation programme for computer game courses in the UK.

Hmm. Let's just say it's not difficult to tell that it's aimed at the more vocational, rather than research-oriented, institutions.

Apart from the actual content they propose that universities clone, the application form is had me more than a little alarmed. They want us to list students already on the course by, among other things, ethnicity. Not just any ethnicity, either, as the choices are very specific:

Asian or Asian British
Black or Black British
Other (please specify)

I'm guessing Other (please specify) would be where the ethnic English British people would go. The Chinese British would be there, too.

I despise this kind of over-reaching of authority. How does Skillset have the gall to make its recommendation of whether a course is good or not based on how many people from different ethnic backgrounds it attracts? This is disgraceful! What business is it of theirs to police racism? We already provide figures for the government — and with these we don't lose out if our numbers are skewed.

As it happens, Essex University's numbers are skewed — greatly in favour of ethnic minorities. This is on account of how so many of our students (and, indeed, members of staff) are from overseas. We don't do anything so crass as lumping Black and Black British together, though, nor downgrade some ethnicities by omitting them (are people of Arabic descent not as important to Skillset as the Chinese?). It's amazing that Skillset can so confidently assume the mantle of pro-diversity yet be so clumsy with it.

It's not just this one question, either:

What procedures and criteria do you use/intend to use for recruiting and selecting students and how do you ensure equal opportunities?

This has nothing to do with the course.

What are your targets for recruiting students from a diverse range of backgrounds and how will you ensure you reach these targets, for example through targeted marketing and promotional activity?


Maybe I should ask what Skillset's answers are to those questions then parrot back the answers...

Ah "diversity": the concept of making everything the same.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).