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Education in the media: 24 February 2017

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Higher Education, Universities

Today’s news review covers the announcement by Jo Johnson about accelerated two-year degrees, adding more flexibility and choice to the higher education system.

Two-year degrees

Today, Friday 24 February, Universities Minister Jo Johnson gave a speech at the Universities UK conference about amendments to the Higher Education and Research bill.

He outlined that one of the amendments will allow universities to condense a three-year degree into two. This will give students greater flexibility and enable them to save on the living costs they would pay in an extra year.

It is also part our commitment to open up access to higher education and encourage people from all backgrounds to enjoy the benefits of our universities. Students will never pay more than they would for an equivalent three-year degree courses.

This was the lead story in The Times today and was covered by the Today programme and BBC Breakfast. It has also been reported by the Daily Telegraph, The FT and The Sun, among others.

This amendment has been welcomed by the sector, including University Alliance’s chief executive Maddalaine Ansell who flags that these accelerated degrees are a particularly attractive option for mature students.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said:

We should celebrate the fact that more young people are going into higher education than ever before, including from disadvantaged backgrounds. But we can and must go further to create opportunity for all. The traditional three-year residential university degree course does not work for everyone and the lack of flexibility and choice in our system is putting off too many who would gain from higher education.


That’s why the government is today tabling amendments to the Higher Education and Research Bill that will give us the chance to fulfil manifesto commitments to deliver new ways of flexible and lifelong learning.


In our manifesto, we specifically promised to encourage universities to offer more two-year courses. These generally condense a three-year degree into two, by curtailing holidays and providing more intensive teaching. Accelerated courses appeal especially to students who may not otherwise choose to pursue a degree. They include mature students who want to retrain, from non-traditional or disadvantaged backgrounds, and those who just want to get into the workplace faster.

To read Minister Johnson’s opinion piece in today’s Times please see here.

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