This Union Notes:
1a. That the National Students Survey (NSS) is a nation-wide questionnaire held for all final year undergraduates in the UK to fill in. It asks for their opinion regarding several factors affecting their university experience, such as resources, student voice, and teaching standards.
1b. That the results of this survey play an important part in affecting a university’s position on the league tables, which then have a key role in the decision-making process for students applying for universities in the coming year.
1c. That in the 2016/17 academic year, the National Union of Students (NUS) led a nationwide campaign to boycott the NSS. The boycott was held in protest of the linkage of the NSS to the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which would give universities with higher rankings the ability to increase their tuition fees and was protested by the NUS on the grounds that this would “accelerate the marketisation of our sector, entrench inequality and damage the UK’s academic reputation”. Following the nation-wide boycott, the TEF/NSS linkage was dropped, and the NUS boycott was ended.
1d. That in 2017/18, SOAS Students’ Union UGM passed another motion to boycott the NSS, as a moral stand against the marketisation of higher education. Despite this call for boycott, 52% of students still filled out the NSS and therefore the data was valid. Last year, 2018/19, the SU ran a referendum on whether to boycott and 62% of those who voted, voted against the boycott. The NSS was completed by more than 70% of finalists.
1e. That the survey is currently open and finalist undergraduate students are being actively asked to fill it in until the deadline on 17th April 2020.
1f. That currently only 33% of SOAS undergraduate students have filled it in, while the threshold for it to be valid is 50%, and SOAS’ target is 80% completion.
1g. That the boycott would mean not filling in the NSS by those who have not done it yet, and to cancel a submission in retrospective, by emailing NSS, for that 33% who have completed it already.
1h. That SOAS has committed to donating 5 pounds per student who fills in the NSS to the Students’ Union society Solidarity with Refugees and Displaced People (SRDP).
1i. That the Students’ Union has a list of active campaigns on campus with clear demands from the School that need to be addressed and committed to.