Leading article: A welcome challenge to the monopoly of universities

 

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The very notion that a FTSE 100 company should offer its own degrees will be greeted with suspicion in some quarters – suspicion mitigated only slightly by the fact that the company is the well-regarded Pearson. It plans to award business degrees validated by the University of London, in return for fees of around 30 per cent below the present norm.

This alone will be welcomed by the Government, which had hoped that giving universities more freedom to set their own fees would lead to more competition than it has. It should be equally welcome to aspiring students, who will also have the option to concentrate the three-year course into two. The prospect of a more practical course, directly linked to a successful business, could be an additional draw. But the proof will be in the employability of the graduates. If a Pearson degree comes to be seen as an asset, the company's entry into higher education will be a positive development.

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