Foundation degrees in HE colleges are overdue for scrutiny

Recent coverage of craft and skill in design brings up the important question of training.


I haven’t seen any coverage of the appalling system of ‘foundation degrees’, which dominate higher education colleges. Most of these come under the aegis of a nearby university that awards the ‘degrees’.


These are not conventional foundation courses. As a 3D design university lecturer and recently retired external examiner for one of these courses, I can say that they are generally under-resourced, understaffed and under-accommodated.


Students work short hours, with little staff input and pernicious practices such as ‘hot-desking’ with other courses are the norm, leading to low standards. This wouldn’t be so bad if the courses were followed by a three-year degree course.


But the ‘powers that be’ have destroyed this possibility by inventing the one-year ‘add-on’ honours degree, to which students from the ‘foundation degrees’ have direct entry. Things are about to get a whole lot worse.


Richard McConnell, by e-mail

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