Government warned over shaky foundation degrees

Foundation Degrees could be a costly failure for the both the Government and
students, with recruiters claiming the UK is producing too many graduates.

The new, two-year degrees are a major part of the Government’s drive to get
50 per cent of under 30-year-olds into the higher education system, with the
first of the Foundation Degree students graduating last summer.

Alan Johnson, minister of state for lifelong learning, further and higher
education, said the uptake of Foundation Degrees this academic year has grown
by 80 per cent, and that government funding of £8.5m would be made available
for another 10,000 places by 2006.

However, a recent poll by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR)
showed the majority of the country’s employers (53 per cent) believe that
universities are churning out too many graduates.

Almost two-thirds of employers (60 per cent) believe this is having an
adverse effect on the quality of graduates.

Anne Marie Martin, director of the University of London careers service,
said employers would not embrace the lower qualification because there were
already too many students studying for honours degrees.

Alyson Hodgson, chair of the AGR, agreed there was a lot of confusion about
what Foundation Degree graduates have to offer companies.

"[Foundation degree] graduates are going to have to focus hard on their
employability," said Hodgson.

"They will have to display the ability to transfer their learning from
education into the business world."

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