Keynote 2: Defining excellence by partnership and not value, in a post marketised HE landscape' by Sayed Alkadiri (Former Middlesex University Student Union Vice President (2015-16))

Keynote report by Celia Cozens (Online Learning Content Manager, CAPE)
To read the session abstract which was submitted prior to the conference please click here.


Video recording of the session: 

To read the full transcript of the talk that was delivered click here.


Sayed Alkadri delivered a vibrant and impassioned address concerning the importance of partnership as the way forward for universities to deliver true value for their students. Setting the scene against a backdrop of rising fees, mounting debt, a new HE bill in process, Brexit and growing inequality, he stressed that we are in turbulent times and students are facing enormous challenges and insecurity.

This environment has led students to question what value they are getting for their fees and whether it is indeed worth going to university in the current climate. Sayed suggested that most students’ unions, faced with these challenges have adopted one of two stances – either they oppose all fees and fight any further rises, or they accept the status quo and work with students as ‘consumers’, trying to improve the quality and quantity of education that they get for their fees.

Sayed proposed a third way – one that is being championed by Middlesex University – that of ‘partnership’ between all. He argued that we have to accept that we live in a marketised HE environment but should work to replace the ‘student as consumer’ with the concept of student as partner. He stressed that this should be a true partnership where students become ‘powerful partners’ who work with executive, academics, support staff and administrators to develop their own learning through co-design and co-development of the curriculum. Sayed went on to argue that it is not enough to simply provide a course representative system as this represents an activity rather than an ethos, which is how partnership should be seen; it should be embedded at all levels and be a genuine meeting of equals with shared goals. He concluded by saying that Middlesex will continue to champion the partnership ideal, not only in the University but in the local community, in London and beyond.