Foundation degrees open opportunities barricades

February 18, 2000

"I hope it will be a modular degree, with all modules linked through credit transfer.

It will be a way through which vocationally based students - through GNVQs and NVQs - can reach level three and go on to higher education."

David Melville, chief executive of the Further Education Funding


"The Association of Colleges has always supported new ways to enable our four million students, many of whom come from very disadvantaged backgrounds, to enter higher education."

Linda Butler, director of communications, Association of Colleges.

"This is a real

opportunity to redefine the nature of higher education and overcome the academic and vocational divide. To ensure that this happens, foundation degrees must be based on the skills analyses of national training organisations and linked to the occupational standards of each industry."

Andy Powell, chief executive of the NTO national


"Universities must play a central role ... their experience will be a crucial ingredient in devising qualifications that will attract the interest of new types of students and satisfy employers' needs." Diana Warwick, chief executive, Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals.

"We are not quite sure how it will fit in yet, but we are sure it will."

A Quality Assurance Agency spokesman.

"It is neither a foundation nor a degree ... there is no evidence that anyone will want it ... the sector is in danger of falling once again into the trap of a producer culture."

Peter Knight, vice-chancellor of the University of Central England.

"Mr Blunkett's comments about top-up fees are a call to arms. He is saying that those of us who still support his position better get stuck in because he will not be around forever."

Tom Wilson, head of universities at Natfhe.

"We think Blunkett is saying he is under pressure. Top-up fees will be more of a barrier to access than tuition fees are already. It is absurd to talk about more fees after the Cubie report."

National Union of Students spokesman.

"If, following the outcome of the comprehensive spending review, funding for higher education does not put right the years of Tory damage then the market will take over and differential fees will result."

David Triesman, general secretary, Association of University Teachers.

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