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Two-year Degrees in the UK: Benefit vs. Trouble

14 December, 2017

The universities minister Jo Johnson, back in July, proposed a model for a two-year degree; however, the universities argue that this is not doable. The idea of having accelerated two-year degrees has cause agitation among universities. It is argued that these accelerated degrees are better for mature students wanting to finish their university degrees as early as possible because they cannot afford to be away from the workforce for long.

The traditional three-year degree system provides students with more time for self-discovery and more options to think of choosing. But that is not the case for older students wanting to develop a level of sustained immersion that the traditional degree fails to deliver. UK universities will now have to consider how the two-year degrees can fit with their strategy, mission and vision and to investigate how the two-year accelerated degrees work better for addressing the needs of an essential part of the prospective learners and sustaining the students' motivation and drives.

Johnson will permit universities in England to charge up to £14,000 a year for the accelerated two-year degrees which are expected to be implemented by 2020. According to Johnson, the level of tuition fees for the two-year courses is the "right balance" where the teaching hours will be the same as a three-year course. "This policy will be particularly attractive for mature students who are looking to change their skills and adapt to changes in the economy - and who might want to go through higher education at a faster pace," he said.

"Accelerated degrees are an attractive option for mature students who have missed out on the chance to go to university as a young person," said Prof Ebdon, head of the Offa access watchdog.

"Having often battled disadvantage, these students can thrive in higher education and I hope that now many more will be able to take up the life-changing opportunity to get a degree."

Two years are the ideal solution for those students who want to get on with their degree and forsake three-month summer holidays," said Sir Anthony, vice chancellor of the University of Buckingham, an institution which already offers two-year degrees.

On the other hand, the academic quality is under question when it comes to the two-year degrees considering that some degrees are about developing skills and students might not get enough hours of practising to gain proficiency, like in science and languages. In the three-year degree, clear progressive steps are being followed and the assessments submitted are designed to reflect knowledge, wisdom and the acquired skills. The question is: can this methodology be applied to the two-year degrees? Numerous Manchester University students are questioning if the proposals would advantage applicants or they will just get the same experience but now during an intensive two-year course.



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