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Britain plans two-year university degree

IANS | London |

Britain’s Department for Education (DfE) said on Sunday that it plans to introduce accelerated two-year degree courses in universities, reducing the time taken to get a bachelor’s degree by a year.

Reducing courses by a year would leave students around $34,000 better off compared to the traditional three-year courses, Xinhua news agency reported.

The proposals were set out in a new government consultation which will run until February when a final decision will be made.

“Accelerated degrees offer the same qualifications and are quality-assured in the same way as a standard degree, but delivered over a shorter, usually two-year timespan.

“This means when most students are completing their third year of study, an accelerated degree student will be starting work and getting a salary,” said a Dfe spokesman.

The proposals announced on Sunday include 20 per cent saving worth $7,400 for students in total tuition costs compared to a standard three-year course. When added to the average salary of $25,000 in the first year after graduating, it means a potential $34,000 benefit overall.

Although the proposals allow institutions to charge up to 20 per cent more each year for accelerated degrees, the overall tuition fee cost of the degree to the student is 20 per cent less than the same degree over three years.

The new fee arrangements for the two-year degrees are set to be in place by September 2019, subject to parliamentary approval.

“For too long we have been stuck with a system that has increasingly focused on offering only one way of benefiting from higher education, via the classic three-year degree programme,” said Universities Minister Jo Johnson.

“Many will want to stick with the classic three-year university experience, but for highly motivated students hungry for a faster pace of learning and a quicker route into or back into work, at lower overall cost, two-year degrees will be well worth considering,” he added.

Professor Les Ebdon, director of Fair Access to Higher Education, 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.”

The DfE said universities offering accelerated degrees will need to meet exactly the same quality assurance measures as for the standard three-year equivalent degrees.