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18-01-2020 | Issue 1/2020

The Computer Games Journal 1/2020

Evidence of Poor Writing and Academic Standards Among University Students in the UK, and the Need for More Rigorous Accreditation of Degree Courses

Journal:
The Computer Games Journal > Issue 1/2020
Author:
Malcolm Sutherland

Abstract

The games industry in the UK is facing a skills shortage crisis, with games companies often having to recruit talent from overseas. This problem has persisted in recent years, despite the fact that British universities have multiplied in number, as well as the number of games graduates outnumbering the number of professionals employed in the games industry. One possible explanation is that British universities’ priorities lie elsewhere. They operate in another highly competitive global market, and are heavily reliant on international students paying substantial fees, preferably for less expensive, less resource-demanding non-STEM courses. Many of these international students cannot express themselves clearly and logically in English, and cannot think critically or understand the course materials. They often require assistance from proofreaders, and will even resort to plagiarism and buying from essay mills. In this paper, I provide anecdotal evidence demonstrating the poor writing and analytical skills of some international students. Between 2015 and 2019, I operated an academic proofreading agency and processed over 500 files from clients, the large majority of whom were enrolled or applying for non-STEM courses, some at ‘elite’ ‘Russell Group’ universities. Many clients were incapable of composing intelligible sentences, and expressing ideas and interpreting data logically using appropriate language. Towards the end, there were a growing number of documents containing evidence of plagiarism and appropriated lecture notes. Questions need to be asked as to whether British universities are the best incubators of talent for the games industry, and whether the manpower and resources diverted away from STEM teaching into targeted recruitment of international students with weak academic and English skills onto non-STEM courses is justifiable.

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