The future is American ...;FE Focus

14th August 1998 at 01:00
BRITISH further and higher education is undergoing an Americanisation which will transform them totally in 20 years, the country's university admissions chief said this week, writes Nicolas Barnard.

Tony Higgins, chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), predicted a move towards an ivy league of top universities - already present in the Russell Group - and a system of community colleges offering further and higher education qualifications.

He said he would be concerned only if learning opportunities at some institutions were denied to all but the wealthy.

"I think we are going down the road in the UK of developing an American style of further and higher education," he told journalists.

Mergers of FE colleges and the growth of part-time and modular courses meant that "in 10 or 15 years' time people will say we've recreated the polytechnics and in 20 years' time a system of community colleges, just like the US."

He added: "A time will come when we won't see people applying for three- or four-year courses full-time. Increasing numbers will study part-time, using credit accumulation, credit transfer, moving in and out of HE as they can afford to, perhaps moving between institutions. There will be more opportunities to study locally, perhaps in community colleges."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today