The University of Pearson?: Degrees for all

With Universities charging higher prices for degrees, Pearson is bringing some hope to the less well off with its innovative degree scheme. Current student, Kalpana Sharma takes us through some of the positive outcomes.

The future educational aspirations of the young generation may have just received a surprising boost with the news that one of the world’s major educational publishers, Pearson, is developing plans to provide degrees. If Pearson’s plans work out, then many students who cannot afford to go to a traditional university may still be able to get a degree awarded by Pearson, thus changing the face of education.

Publishers Become Educators?

I believe that this is a very positive way of spreading education worldwide. The plans of Pearson, one of the world’s leading publishing companies, have been developed so far that the UK government is considering giving Pearson the power to award degrees.

Pearson is already involved in offering academic and vocational qualifications, but now it is preparing to provide four vocational degrees with further education colleges.

There are already more than 100 institutions in the UK that are permitted to award a wide variety of degrees to suit the needs of students. Pearson is a private company, and the government is planning to open up the university sector to private providers.

Currently Pearson provides NVQ and BTEC vocational qualifications which are recognised in more than 60 countries worldwide.

Democratic Education

At the moment, Pearson remains a ‘listed body’. This means that it does not have the power to award degrees, but it may provide a full course which leads to a degree with a recognised body. In the future, Pearson wants to become a ‘recognised body’ itself so that it has the power to award degrees directly.

Crucially, Pearson believes that, with this power, the company can provide degrees at very competitive prices, and this would be beneficial for middle class families.

Currently in the UK, Universities are allowed to charge tuition fees of up to £9,000 per year – an investment which puts many off, and which is completely out of reach for others.

It seems to me that Pearson’s initiative may motivate and encourage the young generation as well as part-time workers or busy mums as they plan to provide highly flexible and part-time courses.

Finally, digitisation is playing a significant role in this development. With increased productivity and greater globalisation, Pearson has accepted this challenge and is embracing the digital age; it is capable of providing opportunities worldwide. Furthermore, Pearson has shown and crucial interest in taking on greater responsibility in higher education.

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Kalpana is currently a student on the MA Publishing course at Anglia Ruskin University. She currently works as a teaching assistant and hopes to make a career in publishing sector, particularly in rights.