A bachelor out of place 2

November 13, 2008

At times, we in higher education in the UK seek international comparisons (often from the US) and claim to learn from them. However, we often appear to be splendid isolationists (perhaps when international lessons do not give us the "right" answers).

For if we really did study, listen and learn, we might think more than twice about the pursuit of "low-cost degrees at bachelor level".

The thought of 16-year-olds embarking on what are, in effect, undergraduate studies and graduating at 20 is intriguing. We must also be mindful of qualification and credit frameworks - not only the meaning of our own, but also how it sits within the framework of the European Higher Education Area.

Much careful analysis is needed regarding these comparisons as well as the claims of "getting degrees for less money". Quality, value and international validity first, please.

Tim Birtwistle, Leeds Metropolitan University.

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