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Saturday, March 13, 2004
The consequences of university expansion

John Clare's Education Answers, a collection of letters to and answers from the great Telegraph educationalist, is a surprisingly gripping read. The book is full of revealing little titbits and anecdotes, the letters and responses painting quite a picture of Britain's education system. Here is one depressing correspondence.

"The first year of my nephew's three-year degree course in English and history at Plymouth University is being taught under a 'franchise' arrangement at a further education college. He did not study either subject at A-level and his knowledge of them seems negligible. What particularly concerns me, a former teacher, is the low standard of work he is doing at the college. It would be more appropriate for a pupil aged 12 or 13 and is certainly below GCSE level. Is this what studying for a degree means nowadays?"

It is not yet the norm. However, the Government, in its drive to increase the proportion of young people in higher education from 30 per cent to 50 per cent, is committed to funding many more such courses.
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