Degrees of error

March 17, 2011

Those who drew up the questions for the UK's 2011 Census obviously have blank spots in their education. Individuals are asked to indicate whether they have a higher degree, for example, an MA, PhD or PGCE.

The last is obviously an error. The first has ambiguity in Scotland, where it represents a first degree for the ancient universities, and in Oxbridge, where it is an academic bonus gained through payment, not study.

Do we need to educate our masters? We certainly need to condition any data output in relation to this question.

Ian McNay, Professor emeritus, higher education and management, University of Greenwich

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