Higher Education Short Cycle

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Author(s)Gerard Madill
Brief outline of the system in Scotland
Since 1992, Scotland has had a unitary HE sector, where older universities co-exist with newer universities - former colleges of higher education, sometimes known as ‘monotechnic’ and ‘multitechnic’ HE institutions (including Colleges of Art and Teacher Training Colleges). Within the HE sector, there is a tradition of short cycle HE which goes back at least 25 years in the case of Certificates and Diplomas of Higher Education (CertHE/DipHE) and a variety of other programmes and qualifications. The Further Education sector largely delivers Higher National Qualifications, which are regulated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, although some HE institutions also deliver a significant proportion of HNQs. HNQs are vocational HE qualifications, which have a long history and are valued by employers. They also offer a route into degree programmes. HNQs and CertHE/DipHE are integrated within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). The presentation will give a very brief outline of the SCQF, focussing on its purpose & vision.

Articulation of HESC with degrees
A considerable amount of work has been undertaken and is ongoing to develop articulation arrangements from HNQs to degrees. The Scottish Advisory Committee on Credit and Access has developed a website detailing opportunities for progressing from HNQs to degree study, including ‘advanced entry’ where learners with HNQs can often enter directly into the second or third year of a (four year) degree programme. The generic ‘toolkits’ have been developed to help ‘bridging’ from HNQs to Degrees for the institution, in order to fill any gaps in learning or experience from one programme to the other. Further work is being undertaken by Scotland’s Wider Access Regional Forums to support the embedding of articulation practices in 4 subject-based areas (Engineering, Science, Computing and IT, Social Sciences in the first instance, but with further developments planned).

Bologna is about creating a common European Higher Education Area. It is about creating greater transparency, making the mobility of students, staff and graduates easier. It is not about creating a single model/mould for all HE. This seminar has allowed delegates to hear about what goes on in other parts of Europe and elsewhere. Mr Madill will argue that the variety of practice between and even within countries should be valued and should not be undermined by the Bologna process or by developments regarding qualifications frameworks at European level. In the wider Lifelong Learning/social inclusion agenda, HESC has a major role to play and needs to be an integral part of the EHEA.
CategoriesModernising PHE within diversified HE » 2006 Seminar LLL