Higher Education System - overview

Country

United Kingdom - higher education system

Flag of the United Kingdom
Population (mln): 62,44
Official language/s: English
Internet TLD: .uk
Calling code: +44
Member of the EU from: 1st January 1973
Unemployment rate Sep 2011 (%): 8,2
Unemployment rate under 25 years Sep 2011 (%): 22,1
Unemployment rate Sep 2012 (%): 7,8
Unemployment rate under 25 years Sep 2012 (%): N/A
Population statistics 20-29 age group 2011 (%): 13,8
Country codes in education system: UK
Expected duration of education (years): 16,7


Definition of Higher Education

Higher education is defined by Section 120 of the Education Reform Act 1988 as ‘education provided by means of a course of any description mentioned in Schedule 6 of the Act, that is, a course of a standard higher than the standard of courses leading to General Certificate of Education Advanced-level (GCE A level) or Business and Technology Education Council National Diploma or Certificate’. 


First cycle programme

First cycle programmes include bachelor’s degrees with honours – the largest group of higher education qualifications – and other qualifications at Level 6 of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ). See the article on ‘Bachelor’.  

First cycle programmes also include Foundation Degrees, Diplomas of Higher Education and Higher National Diplomas and other qualifications at Level 5 of the FHEQ. See the article on ‘Short-Cycle Higher Education’. 

The FHEQ also includes some higher education qualifications at a lower level. Higher National Certificates, Certificates of Higher Education and other qualifications at Level 4 of the FHEQ are covered in the article on ‘Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure’. 


Second cycle programmes

Second cycle programmes involve learning at a higher, more challenging level than an undergraduate degree. Second cycle qualifications at Level 7 of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) include master’s degrees (such as MSc and MA) and postgraduate diplomas and certificates. These are generally taught programmes, although they may have a research element. Much of this article relates to master’s degrees, though there is also information below on short programmes.

While the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the seven Research Councils both have responsibilities regarding research (see the articles on ‘Higher Education Funding’ and ‘Types of Higher Education Institutions’ for further details), the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has a remit to develop a coordinated approach to policy, funding and participation issues in postgraduate education. Information on HEFCE’s recent work in these respects is available from its website, including a 2013 overview report on Postgraduate Education in England and Northern Ireland


Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

There are also some short higher education programmes that are below the level of the programmes described in the article on ‘Short-Cycle Higher Education’.

These include Higher National Certificates (HNCs) and Certificates of Higher Education (CertHE) which are at level 4 of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ). 

These programmes typically take one year to complete full-time. They are intended to encourage the development of flexible learning pathways and in this way to facilitate lifelong learning. The Certificate of Higher Education may be a first step towards obtaining higher level qualifications. 


Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Doctoral degrees are at level 8 of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ).

While the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the seven Research Councils both have responsibilities regarding research (see the articles on ‘Higher Education Funding’ and ‘Types of Higher Education Institutions’ for further details), the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has a remit to develop a coordinated approach to policy, funding and participation issues in postgraduate education. Information on HEFCE’s recent work in these respects is available from its website, including a 2013 overview report on Postgraduate Education in England and Northern Ireland.


source:
Eurypedia - The European Encyclopedia on National Education Systems
http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/eurypedia_en.php


Source: Eurydice,
Eurypedia - The European Encyclopedia on National Education Systems , Eurosta, wikipedia.org, Agency for Science and Higher Education Croatia, Department of Education and Skills Irelan,  Ministry of Education and Culture - FINLAND

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