Three school pupils have been suspended after creating a website to evaluate their teachers.
Nathan Ganser and two friends at a gymnase in Morge were surprised when their blog, set up to evaluate teachers, got them into trouble. “Teachers evaluate students. This project was a way of doing the same thing” he explained. “We didn’t expect to get to get punished. We thought we were starting something of value to society. The idea was to extend the concept to other schools.”
The trio’s blog, inspired by a system of evaluation used by the University of Lausanne, created an unexpected buzz. “It really took off”, he said. “In less than two days 600 of the school’s 1,300 students posted their views on the site. Many of our classmates and some parents congratulated us.”
The school’s teachers were less enthusiastic. They decided the blog warranted a three week suspension starting on 6 June. “Pupils are not equipped to evaluate teachers” said the school’s director. The canton’s education authorities supported the director’s decision.
In addition, the teachers union was concerned about data protection. “The site’s content doesn’t meet with legal norms…there are risks that reputations could be damaged. We can’t let this go.” said the president of Vaud’s gymnase teachers’ association.
Nathan Ganser is not too concerned by the punishment. He’s optimistic about the future. “I’m off to England for a year and I plan to continue to encourage debate between teachers and students when I get back.” His future teachers have at least been warned.