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29th November 2023

King’s Speech: Government axes ‘low-quality degrees’

In his first address as monarch, King Charles III announces drastic changes to the education sector
King’s Speech: Government axes ‘low-quality degrees’
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A legislative bill which would entail reducing the number of students and young people studying “poor quality” university degrees has been introduced, following the state address, or King’s Speech, of Parliament on November 7.

This came among other reforms to the education sector announced in the State Address to Parliament.

The State Opening of Parliament is a ceremonious event which marks the beginning of the new parliamentary session and involves all entities of the British state gathered to hear the monarch outline the government programme.

The government seeks to impose a cap on certain university courses which are deemed to be providing unsatisfactory outcomes for its graduates. Critics of the plan have suggested that this will deter people from low-income households from attending university.

The Office for Students has been advised to curtail the number of students on these courses, as well as issuing potential fines on universities where less than 60% of students are offered better employment prospects.

According to the CEO of University UK, Vivienne Stern, only 1-3% of all university courses were deemed to not be above the criteria set by the regulator.

Instead, the Government have pivoted towards focusing on apprenticeship schemes which the government believes is essential to boosting technical skills.

The government will continually review the latest technological developments to ensure brighter future employment opportunities and reduce skills shortages in all industries.

The King’s announcement has received disapproval from the education sector, with the CEO of London Higher Diana Beech saying, “[t]he King’s reference to supposed ‘poor-quality university degrees’ will not do global Britain any favours when the brightest and best from across the world choose to take their talents elsewhere.”

The speech also confirmed the anticipated ‘Advanced British Standard’ which will reform the existing A-Level and technical qualification pathways and instead combine these into a single qualification.

Those in the industry believe that such policies will take considerable resources and funding.

Daniel Kebede, the chair of the National Education Union said “Rishi Sunak is doubling down on pie-in-the-sky education policies. He is completely out of touch with reality.”

Milo, a History student at the University of Manchester, says that there are “no fundamental examples provided by the government and comes at a time where some universities have invested in outlandish degrees like magic” such as the University of Exeter who have recently introduced a new ‘Masters in magic’ and Occult sciences.

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