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Has Education Eaten Itself?

1st April 2011

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Vocational degrees such as Golf Course Management have oft been labelled ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees and used to scoff at higher education, but a new set of vocational degree courses unveiled today by the UK’s League of Universities have led even those within the sector to start questioning whether Higher Education has finally eaten itself.

The new courses have been introduced alongside many others in order to meet new government targets for vocational course uptake, but none have raised eyebrows as much as the University Preparation Programme (UPP). Designed by the Furthering Universities Committee (FUC) the programme of courses includes BA level diplomas in Student Union Operations, Campus Security, Accommodation Block Management, Student Leisure Science and even University Lecturing.

“It’s difficult to see what use a BA in Lecturing could be in the real world if you don’t manage to get a job at university after graduation,” said Tom Boye from the Vox Pop Providers Association. “We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with aspiring to be a university lecturer; we’re just saying that the courses that bring people towards their eventual careers have become too narrow and restrictive.”

Leah Err, FUC chairwoman defended the UPP programme; “This an excellent step forward in improving university education for all. Streamlining the route towards becoming a university lecturer is the best possible way for us to inject fresh new blood into the system so the system works for itself and feels more fresher and increasingly more vibrantly.”

Mrs Err suggested that these courses will have a positive effect on all aspects of campus life; “It’s not just the boring learning bit of university that will benefit from these courses. Who better to have as your Student Union President than someone who’s actually qualified for the role?”

Other courses announced in the FUC UPP include BA courses in Campus Design, Student Loan Repayment Theory and Happy Hour Behavioural Psychology, along with an MA in Tutorial Tutoring and a Doctorate in University Vice Chancellorship.

What do you think? Have vocational courses gone too far? Does this make a mockery of Higher Education and devalue ‘proper’ degrees? Or is this a step in the right direction to improve university education?

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