Don’t Let The Title Put You Off
The Guardian has an agenda which has determined their title and focus on this story but it is actually of much wider appeal and makes a couple of very important points. The first is that the new university will offer two-year degrees. This is the future and we need to get away from the traditional three or four-year university programme which dominates still, despite being designed for a time when only the top 2% of society went and had to combine it with their family demands on their time. I have no problem with three or four year degrees existing for those who can afford both the cost and to delay their entry to the workforce. But the vast majority of new university students come from backgrounds who take a huge financial risk on attendance and often struggle to get any meaningful return. For them a two-year degree is perfect – all the same learning at 30% less cost and working at an intensity more like the world of work making them better prepared for jobs.
The second, perhaps slightly less important point of this new university but one which I like is that it will stretch students to cover more variety of subjects and disciplines. This is something done well in the US but which has been lost in the UK for many years. The benefits of multi-disciplinary study are well known and this is a welcome development.