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Flexible Learning

Volume 404: debated on Monday 28 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures he plans to introduce (a) to support part-time students and (b) to encourage flexible learning in higher education. [108271]

On our plans for improving the financial support offered to part-time students, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Daventry on 14 April 2003, Official Report, column 562–63W. The Government is firmly committed to encouraging more flexible ways of learning to attract people with different demands and responsibilities into higher education. E-learning has the potential to provide interactive, individualised learning at the pace, place and level most suited to the learner. We have provided £62 million to set up the UK e-Universities project to make higher education more widely available over the Internet for both individuals and businesses.Since September 2001, foundation degrees have been available offering flexible study methods such as distance learning and e-learning to suit the individual needs of both employed and unemployed students. Both full and part-time courses are offered at universities or colleges of further and higher education.The Higher Education Funding Council for England is about to start a two year programme of work with other partners in the HE sector to identify and build upon good practice in the use of credit systems. This work will include a number of pilot schemes to encourage the use of credit to support flexible progression and transfer between institutions and qualifications.