Letter: Shaky foundations

August 31, 2001

A Department for Education and Skills spokeswoman describes two-year foundation degrees as adding "a further rung on the coherent ladder of vocational learning" ("Colleges predict student shortfall", THES , August 24). This is just a reissue of press releases of last year.

The DFES has completely failed to take on board the resolution of the Bologna Higher Education summit of 2000 that a degree course in the European Union must be not less than three years in duration. A two-year course cannot be called a "degree". Thus, the DFES scheme for two-year foundation degrees must be ruled inadmissible.

A directive from the EU on degree course titles and structures must be in the pipeline. No doubt ministers will be completely taken by surprise, despite many newspaper reports providing the relevant intelligence.

H. C. S. Ferguson

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