University Credibility Being Undermined

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has said that the reputation of universities in the UK has taken another blow today following the decision of Buckinghamshire New University to offer degrees in bed selling. Mr Wilson has said that this decision makes a mockery of third level education in the United Kingdom. Speaking at Stormont today, Mr Wilson said:

“Every so often we hear that barmy degree courses are being offered by universities but this one takes the biscuit. Just when we thought that some university degrees couldn’t get more ridiculous, following golf management and surf studies being offered by some institutions, we learn that degrees are now being offered in bed selling. This makes a mockery of tertiary education.

The announcement of these degrees creates ridicule and headlines, but they are actually symptomatic of a serious problem in our higher education system. The government’s target of 50% of young people in higher education by 2010 means that all must have prizes regardless of how worthless the degree in question actually is. Not all young people are best suited to a university education but the government does not seem to grasp this concept and this has resulted in a huge increase in the number of university courses and places. This has left us in the situation where these silly degrees are made available.

The government needs to recognise that universities are a place for academic study, not for vocational training courses or bed selling. Young people must not be pushed into university when it is not suitable for them. The high drop out rate that we have witnessed over recent years is testimony to this.”

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