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Union Rep Condemns Government’s Two-Year Degree Plan

University and College Union (UCU) member has criticised the government’s plan of introducing more accelerated degrees for 2019.

University Minister, Jo Johnson has urged students to consider two-year courses for their financial benefits. He said that students could be £25,000 better off than those who opt for 3-year courses.

The chair of Brighton University’s UCU, Mark Abel, believes that the intensive nature of two-year degrees will have a ‘serious impact’ on the employment conditions of lecturers.

He said: “The existing lecturer contract can accommodate teaching during the summer. We are not off work out of term-time unless we book holiday from our annual entitlement.

In practice, it would mean a very different shape to the working year and would have implications for the non-teaching work lecturers do – specifically research and scholarly activity, most of which is currently done during the summer.”

Mark believes that fast-track degrees will also diminish the teaching quality of lecturers in further education.

Due to the increased workload levels, he said that lecturers will not be able to keep up with the latest development in their respective field – that they will ‘only teach what they know themselves, nothing new.’

The musician and philosopher said students will also suffer from accelerated degrees as many use their summer break to partake in further research for their course.

He added: “Packing everything into 2 years would mean less opportunity for students to mature educationally during their course. Also, less possibility for periods of self-directed study.

“So the 2-year model actually transforms higher education radically, and not in a good way.”

The government’s proposed idea for 2-year degrees have received wide-spread criticisms from academics around the country.