The QAC follies

Neven Sesardic
(Lingnan University, Hong Kong: sesardic@ln.edu.hk)

Who doesnít think with nostalgia

of that recent and pleasant past

when we all worked happily

without being harassed.

 

Teaching was a lot of fun,

our lives went pretty well,

until we heard the news

or, rather, a loud bombshell.

 

Danger! Watch out! Alarm!

Lights flashing all around,

panic spreads across the campus,

with screeching siren sound.

 

Gee, what is this calamity?

Is it an attack from Mars?

Or a new stock market crash?

Or maybe a return of SARS?

 

Oh no, itís much worse than that,

itís as scary as it could be.

We are expecting an audit:

from that wretched QAC!

 

In this age of quality assurance

every school is trying hard

to be better than its rivals

and find its own trump card.

 

The paid consultants and wizards

visit Lingnan every week,

telling us how to improve

and become truly unique.

 

We donít always find this helpful.

In fact much of what weíve heard

is hollow and ill-defined,

or bordering on the absurd.

 

Weíre asked to rewrite our programs

by using new and empty phrases:

the task thatís quite frustrating

but receiving highest praises.

 

Yet the audit is inevitable

and we simply must play along.

So letís go through the motions

and sing our little song.

 

We study QAC manuals

and work around the clock,

to be ready for the audit,

be it real or mock.

 

If we are asked to apply

some vague and pointless measure,

we will proceed accordingly

without showing much displeasure.

 

Donít expect us, however,

to do it with much passion,

for we hope that the whole approach

will soon go out of fashion.

 

But now letís get down to business,

as there is no time to waste,

the aim is to make our teaching

transparent and outcome-based.

 

Hence admit your faults and weaknesses,

since the salvation only begins

with being completely open

and confessing all your sins.

 

And for such self-criticism

you will be commended or rewarded,

otherwise you may be censured,

or (who knows?) waterboarded.

 

We will mend our evil ways,

and tread a novel path,

to satisfy the auditors

and avoid their awful wrath.

 

Weíll do what we must do,

and then weíll just wait and pray

that God show us some mercy

on the QAC judgment day.