Government blamed for 'mickey mouse' courses

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The Independent Online

The Government's determination to get half of young people to go to university is driving the growth of "mickey mouse" degrees in subjects such as surfing, a teachers' leader said yesterday.

Hobbies were not worthy of being turned into subjects for serious academic study, said a Professional Association of Teachers' official, Peter Morris.

PAT's annual conference in Bournemouth on Wednesday is expected to demand that the Government scrap its "unrealistic" university target and put more money into high quality job-related courses instead.

Mr Morris, an information technology teacher at Bishop Gore School in Swansea, said having degrees in subjects such as surfing devalued academic and vocational education.

He cited the Surf and Beach Management BA offered by Swansea Institute of Higher Education. As well as requiring students to develop their surfing skills, the course also includes modules on coastal conservation, customer care, "management of risk", "surf entrepreneurship" and "surf destination planning". Applicants need at least two D-grades at A-level in order to get on the course.

Mr Morris said: "Surfing is a hobby, not a subject. It doesn't contribute to the gross domestic product of this country in any significant amount." He blamed the Government for its goal of getting half of under-30s through higher education by 2010.

No one at Swansea Institute was available for comment.