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UCU says two-year degrees would lead to 'education on the cheap'

30 May 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU today warned that plans for two-year 'fast-track' degrees would damage the reputation of UK degrees and would lead to 'education being delivered on the cheap'.

Members at UCU's annual congress voted against the introduction of the degrees saying they would massively increase the workload of staff and reduce the amount of time they could spend carrying out research.
Delegates said that squeezing three-year degrees into two years could not be achieved on the back of swingeing cuts to higher education and would have a devastating impact on the quality of students' experience.
Speaking during an impassioned debate, Karen Evans, from the University of Liverpool said: 'Accelerated degrees have no educational value and will stop students from having a well-rounded education. As well as placing a huge strain on staff it will also mean an additional burden on students, many of whom have to work through the summer to pay back the debts of tuition fees.'
Speaking after the vote, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Two-year degrees may sound great on paper but are in effect "education on the cheap". They would be incredibly teacher-intensive and would stop staff from carrying out vital research and pastoral duties. Our universities are places of learning not academic sweatshops and we need to get away from the idea that more can be delivered for less.
'Cuts, such as the savage ones currently planned, will have consequences. I fail to see the logic of "piling 'em high and teaching 'em cheap" in a two-tier system designed purely to mask the failings of the government to properly fund higher education.'