Letter: Shaky foundations (1)

October 5, 2001

Your analysis on recruitment to foundation degrees ("Great idea - shame about the cold feet", THES , September 28) once again perpetuates the great higher education excuse - blame it on the marketing.

To say that the major reason for the lack of recruitment to these courses is the "absence of national publicity" fails to take consideration of the dynamics of today's markets.

The idea that offering a course and telling everyone about it is enough to create demand is rarely the case. The fact that universities and colleges were quick to offer these courses does not mean that students want them.

Even if large numbers of worthies have lined up to support the rhetoric, it does not mean that employers will put their training money where their political mouth is.

There is a great deal that is good about foundation degrees, things that could well enhance the higher education experience for undergraduates.

But there is also much that ignores the basic rule that people are interested in direct benefits. Providers and the government could learn much from the classic put-down: "I'd rather have the money."

Roy Newson
Marketing director
Anglia Polytechnic University

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