English universities are to have a new uniform framework governing the academic "credit" students earn towards their degrees, making it easier to transfer between courses, study part time and undertake work-based courses, writes Claire Sanders.
The new national credit framework will, however, be "permissive" rather than "prescriptive".
The framework was proposed by the Measuring and Recording Student Achievement Scoping group, headed by Bob Burgess, the vice-chancellor of Leicester University.
It will bring togethera range of similar schemes into one coherent framework.
The scoping group proposes that credit arrangements for English universities should be developed at national level by the start of the academic year 2008-09.
Universities will be expected to have credit-rated their main provision by the start of the 2009-10 academic year and to have included credit values in their prospectuses.
Drummond Bone, president of Universities UK, said that the plans demonstrated "the flexibility of the higher education sector to suit the needs of students, employers and government".
Bill Rammell, Higher Education Minister, said: "I hope that it will help to establish better progression routes into and through higher education, especially as those routes become more varied and adaptable."