CAT-astrophe

October 29, 1999

The point made in your recent editorial ("Lifelong learning needs a qualification framework", THES, October 22) about a national credit accumulation and transfer system being an "essential aspect of developing lifelong learning" is seriously mistaken.

Lifelong learning is about developing knowledge, understanding, skills and values in people; CAT systems are concerned with assigning credits to the outcomes of learning for the purposes of certificating or credentialling.

There is no necessary connection between these two aspects of learning. Anyone familiar with Roland Dore's arguments in The Diploma Disease will be only too aware of the disastrous consequences of conflating educational aims, learning processes, outcomes and qualifications frameworks.

Terry Hyland

Department of continuing education

University of Warwick

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