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Last Updated: Monday, 26 July, 2004, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Teachers attack 'hobby degrees'
Surf board
There is a three-year degree courses in surf science
Hobbies such as surfing are being turned into "Mickey Mouse" degree courses, a teachers' union conference is to be told.

The Professional Association of Teachers' annual conference is to debate the growth in higher education.

There will be claims that the government's drive for 50% of young people to go to university is lowering the quality of degrees.

Teachers will say that subjects such as surfing should not be degree courses.

Information technology teacher, Peter Morris, a delegate at the conference in Bournemouth, said that "surfing is a hobby, not a subject."

'Devalued'

"Surfers need a qualification in safety but I question whether that needs to be a degree. If it is to be a degree, surely it has to be in something that adds to the country's heritage and our nation, like classics," said Mr Morris.

"Clearly there needs to be academic rigour. You have to have a degree that's worth having. If it is not worth having, then the whole of academia is devalued.

"And I do believe that these degrees are devaluing academia full stop."

There are several institutions offering surf-related courses - including a three-year surf science and technology degree at the University of Plymouth and a three-year course in surf and beach management at Swansea Institute of Higher Education.

The first graduates of the Plymouth course received their degrees two years ago.

The university sector has rejected previous criticisms of such specialised vocational courses, arguing that areas such as tourism and leisure are major employers and significant aspects of the national economy.

Universities say that such new courses reflect the demands for skills from the leisure and service sectors, which are now often bigger employers than "traditional" industries.




SEE ALSO:
Student surfers riding high
20 Dec 02  |  Education
Surf's up - to a degree
14 Mar 99  |  Education
In praise of wacky degrees
10 Oct 01  |  Education
Australia launches surfing science degree
06 Jul 01  |  Asia-Pacific


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