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Sub-Degree Courses (Validation)

Volume 982: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about the arrangements for the validation of sub-degree courses in agriculture and related subjects.

My right hon. and learned Friend shares the desire of those concerned with arrangements for the validation of sub-degree courses in agriculture and related subjects that some rationalisation of the existing pattern of courses and awards should be secured. It is clear from efforts to achieve this over a number of years that no solution is feasible unless it stems from a concensus of views among those concerned and rests on a common commitment to its success.The consultations recently undertaken by the Technician Education Council did not suggest that the proposals put forward at the Department's request had so far attracted the necessary degree of commitment. They and others more recently advanced include features which merit careful consideration by those concerned, and we hope this will open up an approach which commands general support.We consider it important that such an approach, whilst recognising the particular needs of agriculture for a vertically integrated pattern of provision below degree level, should not isolate this area from developments in related subjects or from the work of bodies validating courses generally at this level by, for instance, introducing a distinct and separate system of awards; and should recognise fully the roles and responsibilities of the validating bodies concerned, including not only those with a major current interest, but also TEC and BEC.