Universities could soon be offering two-year degrees to help bring more people into higher education.
Minister of Universities and Science Jo Johnson said the aim was to lower fees to £5,500 a year.
He added that he hoped that ”squeezing three years of learning into two will stop the huge drop in part-time students or lead to better outcomes”.
The programs have caused much controversy among universities with lecturers expressing concern that they won’t be able to cram their syllabus into two years.
Supporters of the plans say it will not only save on tuition fees but also on living fees, saving up to £25,000 per degree course for students.
Universities in Bristol are considering the changes. As a University of Bristol spokesperson said: “We are following these latest proposals to encourage the introduction of two-year degree courses with interest and will await to see what formal Government legislation is forthcoming.”
But lecturers in the Department of Engineering are concerned. The amount of knowledge they need to teach is already too much. Their workload is already barely manageable, says Ryan McConville, who teaches Machine Learning to Masters students.
”I think part of the university experience is to think and not just to be taught,” he said.
Student opinions from the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol were mixed. Some of them welcomed the new courses.
Jack Golding said the ”degrees are overpriced already” while Daniela Seoane added ”any opportunity to have them at a lower price point is great.”
Others think that universities should focus more on the existing schemes and adding new ones to allow more people who are not financially capable to fund it for themselves to attend three-year courses.
A government survey found that 73% of higher education providers already experienced demand for accelerated courses, but more than a third of them have concerns about costs.
Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “Several universities have been offering two-year, fast-track degrees for a number of years, but demand has been limited under the current system.
“But if these proposals help encourage even more flexible modes of study, and meet the needs of a diverse range of students and employers, it is to be welcomed.”