Foundation stones

July 28, 2000

The proposed foundation degree embodies part of the government's vision of getting half the population through "higher" education by 30.

Many people question where these students will come from, if not from existing further and higher education courses. In "Foundation degrees start small" (THES, July 14), it was suggested that everyone was already adapting higher national diplomas to meet foundation degree requirements. If so, the goal of widening access is unlikely to be reached. While there has been some decline in HNDs, demand for the mostly part-time higher national certificate has grown by more than 7 per cent in four years. During that period total HND/C registrations have risen 58 per cent in health and care, 42 per cent in information technology, and per cent in media.

There has been steady demand for these qualifications, which are valued by employers and colleges. I would like to reassure everyone that higher nationals are alive and well. Edexcel is happy to work with the appropriate people to help develop a foundation degree that meets the goal of widening access.

Michael Knapp

Corporate marketing director

Edexcel

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