University 'non-courses' attacked

Editorin Training & Education

The UHI Millennium Institute have responed to a recent claim made by the Taxpayers' Alliance who stated that there are too many Micky Mouse courses (Golf Management) being run at Universities.

The Univesities response was in reply to the following statment being published :-

Hundreds of university "non-courses" should be abolished as a waste of public money, a group campaigning for lower taxes has said.

A report from the Taxpayers' Alliance highlighted 401 such courses starting this autumn in the UK, which it said cost £40m a year to run.

But the vice-chancellors' organisation Universities UK accused it of a "rag bag of prejudices".

It said courses were over-subscribed and graduates much in demand.

The TaxPayers' Alliance report said the courses "lend the respectability of scholarly qualifications to non-academic subjects".

The training they offered would be better learned on the job, it suggested.

The report had a "top five" of target courses:

1. Outdoor adventure with philosophy, at Marjon, the College of St Mark and St John in Plymouth 2. Science: fiction and culture, at the University of Glamorgan
3. Equestrian psychology, at the Welsh College of Horticulture in Mold, Flintshire
4. Fashion buying, at Manchester Metropolitan University
5. Golf management, at UHI Millennium Institute, based in Inverness.

Author Peter Cuthbertson said: "Political priorities have led to a never-ending drive to increase the number of students in university.

"As a result, there has been a massive expansion of 'non-degrees' of little or no academic merit.

"The government has failed in its pledge to abolish 'Mickey Mouse' degrees.

"If 'non-courses' were abolished, all the other students could save over £100 on their tuition fees or buy an extra pint of beer a week."

See Link:-

The UHI Millennium Institute Reponse:-

The report has limited connection with reality - fact is, like any other multi-million business, golf needs professional and skilled people with appropriate qualifications.

Scotland is the home of golf and we are proud that we are serving the industry with courses that are quality- assured and meet rigorous academic standards, producing top-class employees for golf clubs around the world.

We have graduates working in management posts in the US, Indonesia, the Middle East and all over the UK, including local clubs Inverness, Torvean and Nairn. Some are working at famous clubs such as Turnberry, Gleneagles and Pinehurst in the US.

  • We have 42 students signed up for the next courses.
  • We've had around 100 students since the courses were launched in 2000/1.
  • Golf is a multi-million industry, contributing more than £700 million to the economy.
  • It creates jobs and huge spin-off benefits for local communities.
  • It needs applied knowledge across the board in areas including general business and management; health and safety; golf course management, environmental issues; course design and lay-out; customer service and marketing.
  • The popularity of the BA Golf Management programme in Dornoch has led to the introduction of a National Certificate in Golf Studies which started this month. This will help students to progress to careers in golf management, green-keeping, fitness, tourism, course architecture and professional golf.
  • "Sport is like any other industry and needs professional people to be successful, and we are proud to offer important qualifications for a major part of the global leisure and tourism industry. Our students are learning skills in specialities including marketing, finance, event and tourism management which could also be applied in a raft of other businesses. The UHI higher national and degree courses in golf management are quality assured and meet all the required academic standards."

We have HNC/HND courses and a BA in golf management based in Dornoch , Sutherland, (home to one of Scotland's best courses) with North Highland College UHI.

We're a higher education network of colleges, research and learning centres across the Highlands and Islands. North Highland is one of our partners, running the courses through UHI.

What are your thoughts on this? Do we have too many courses that do little to promote and enhance our industry needs?

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