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Fast Track Degrees Damage Graduate Skills


Plans to condense degrees into two year courses will damage graduate skills, lecturers’ union Natfhe claims.

Roger Kline, head of higher education for the union, said the policy would “devalue” the degree and reduce skills.

“We believe it fails to acknowledge the importance of developing critical and analytical skills while studying for a degree,” he said.

“Reducing study time may diminish the degree experience by replacing considered study with intensive ‘cramming’ – this would not develop the skills we need from graduates.”

Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell disagreed, claiming that there was “no question of ‘devaluing’ degrees”.

“Anyone studying a condensed degree would have to have the same knowledge and understanding as those studying for three years – there is no question of lowering the bar,” he commented.

He added that such flexibility would open up higher education to more people, reduce student debts and increase the available workforce.

The new “fast track” degrees will be piloted at five universities from September – Staffordshire University, Derby University, Leeds Metropolitan University, University of Northampton and the Medway Partnership in Kent.

The government aims to increase the proportion of young people with higher qualifications to 50% by the end of the decade, but projections suggest it may not achieve this.


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