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Higher Education White Paper

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 4:09 pm on 28th June 2011.

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Photo of David Willetts David Willetts Minister of State (Universities and Science) 4:09 pm, 28th June 2011

I hope that it will be possible for Professor Sir Tim Wilson to report to us by the autumn on his observations. Having visited our main trading partners, encouraging legitimate overseas students to study in the UK and building education contacts, I think there are opportunities for us to learn from them, but equally there remains a great desire among them to learn from us. Some of our vocational qualifications are well respected, especially traditional, well-established qualifications such as City and Guilds, HNCs, HNDs and BTECs. I want to see those expanded, as do the Secretary of State and the Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning. Indeed, one of the new flexibilities will be to have a BTECU. It will be possible to take BTECs beyond A-level, so we could imagine a level 4 or 5 qualification—it might not be a full-blown honours degree, but it could be called a BTEC even though the organisation offering BTECs is not a teaching institution. That is the type of new flexibility that we are going to make possible so that higher-level vocational qualifications can be properly studied in our country.