‘Fast-track’ degrees planned by UK universities

By Alisa Anwar

Recent Government plans have prompted universities to consider offering ‘fast-track’ degrees whereby students complete their undergraduate study in two years, rather than the conventional three or four. The reasoning behind the proposal is to save students money.

The lofty sum of £9,000, which is regrettably due to increase, is not considered to be value for money, given that most degree courses are typically allocated around six months of holidays and have inadequate contact hours. A shorter and more intensive two-year course, at the price of £13,000 a year, would be considered a greater worth. Additionally, students will not be required to pay for food, housing and other living expenses for an additional year.

It is also stressed that the smaller time-frame would not equate to a decline in quality. Students would be expected to work more intensely, and receive more teaching time. Yet, will the ‘fast-track’ degree really live up to the vision proposed by University Minister Jo Johnson? Although the exact tuition fees are still disputed, the current figure would mean that over the two years students are still required to pay £26,000, only £1,000 short of what we currently pay for three.

Many also question whether this will lead to a class divide within universities. There are concerns at the shocking ratio between private and state-school amongst some institutions, and it is felt that this new ‘fast-track’ model would increase the class polarisation. Furthermore, is university only just centred on pure academic study? In a world that advocates the necessity to have ‘all-rounded’ students, it is thought that this proposal will hinder the overall ‘undergraduate experience.’

University, is about learning life skills, delving into innumerable societies, whilst also having the time to mature academically; features that many believe would probably be neglected under the ‘fast-track degree.’

Image by John Loo via Flickr.

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