Letter: Technical hitches

October 19, 2001

So the new Engineering and Technology Board will persuade universities to train more incorporated engineers and technicians (For the record, THES , September 28).

Although there is much overlap in courses for engineers and technicians, the educational distinction is that a technologist is a graduate, whereas a technician does not pursue studies to degree level.

Why an official body should be trying to persuade universities to enlarge areas of sub-degree work is unclear, unless it has in mind those former polytechnic universities that kept their higher national diploma sub-degree work.

When colleges of advanced technology were promoted to universities in 1964-70, all their HND sub-degree work was transferred to technical colleges as it was not considered to be of university level. As far back as 1921, the Universities Grants Committee advised universities to transfer all sub-degree work to local technical colleges.

Now it seems universities are taking on board that which they sought to abandon and blurring the boundaries between further and higher education to maximise the number of graduates.

H. C. S. Ferguson
Pollockshields, Glasgow

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