FE myths scotched

March 24, 2000

I had feelings of alternating deja vu and concern sitting through a recent presentation on foundation degrees.

As John Pratt says (Opinion, THES, March 3), the Dip HE, introduced with a similar fanfare in the 1970s, was intended to meet similar aims and has not taken the nation's higher education establishments by storm!

But HNCs and HNDs have gradually gained a better acceptance in HEIs and in employment, and thousands of students, often with modest qualifications, use them as a valuable route into employment and/or onto full honours degree status. Surely this is a good example of lifelong learning that the Department for Education and Employment wishes to encourage? Is the government risking "throwing the baby out with the bath water" in seeking to introduce yet a third two-year sub-degree qualification? Possibly some modest changes to the HNC/D route may be more sensible.

Carole Williams

Swardeston, Norwich

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