Friday, April 18, 2008

Degrees in selling beds

Twenty odd years ago when I first came to the United States, one of the reasons Europeans considered the American university system a joke was that you could take classes like basket-weaving for academic credit. Now the British education system is moving in the same direction with McDonalds offering A-levels and now Dreams bed company offering a foundation degree in partnership with one of the new universities.

Although the concept of a qualification in bed-selling might seem laughable at first, it actually makes a lot of sense. There are plenty of people who do not do particularly well academically who are quite capable of learning more than they do in school, and they often don't realize that until they get out into the world of work. Options that allow people to go back to school while still at work and learn the theory behind what they are applying on a daily basis seem to me to be a good thing. I particularly like the idea that a foundation degree, like the HND in the UK or an associate's degree here in the US, can be a stepping stone towards a traditional college degree qualification whilst still being vocational at heart. It certainly makes more sense than trying to increase the numbers of people getting traditional, academically focused, degrees.

One of England's newest universities is offering tailor-made degrees in the management of selling beds. Buckinghamshire New University in High Wycombe is offering a retail management foundation degree developed in partnership with bed company Dreams. This is the kind of collaboration between industry and higher education the government wants to encourage. Most of the sector's expansion is through such two-year courses mixing academic and work-based learning.

3 comments:

Expatmum said...

Hmmm. A degree in retail management is a good idea, but bed-selling in particular? Or would this just be one module? Actually, since every other shop in the States is a matress store, there is probably a demand.

Daffodilly said...

Oh please do not get me started on the American education system!

david mcmahon said...

It's one course that wouldn't catch anyone napping, so to speak!

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