Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Just add water and stir....Instant Degrees

As reported on the BBC website today, Staffordshire University in England has gone ahead with its "fast track" degree scheme, whereby instead of taking three years for an honours degree (the already short English system) it can now be done in two, provided students are prepared to ave no holidays. Needless to say there are those students who love it since it gives them the chance of getting a degree certificate quickly and saves on the third year of fees. Educationally, however, it raises big questions about the nature of the learning that takes place and this is the heart of the concern of academic staff; the emphasis being on quickly getting the necessary piece of paper, rather than becomng fully encultured into the ethos of the subject and of higher learning in general. Of course, the senior management's retort is that the lecturers are simply resistant to change. Nice to see then that the scheme has been so well thought out!

One wonders if the current generation of learners in England will begin to feel cheated in terms of fees, the commodification of learning and really missing out on the wider student experience, which often actually can have as big an impact on their future careers and lives as the degree itself.


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