Critical minds draw short straw

January 14, 2000

The view that the American model could be adopted when the associate degree is introduced in England and Wales is controversial ("New Labour, new year, new degree", THES, December 10 1999).

The numerous gatekeepers associated with further education will resist the proposed change. They will try to protect their zones of influence from the encroachment of an efficient and effective American model. If the government is serious about using the model, then it will have to introduce a champion for its cause and challenge the vested-interest gatekeeper group. That champion could be the United States universities and colleges that have successfully located campuses in the United Kingdom and have been involved in numerous education transformations.

These institutions have already creamed off a significant part of higher education services provided to overseas students in the UK. They have been innovative and have introduced systems that are less bureaucratic and more effective in delivery.

Michael Adams

Harrow Weald, Middlesex

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