binary system

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The two‐tier system of higher education which existed between 1966 and 1992 when the further education sector was expanded to create polytechnics and other colleges which delivered higher education separately from, but in parallel with, universities in the higher education sector. The policy for this expansion was set out in the 1966 White Paper A Plan for Polytechnics and Other Colleges: Higher Education in the Further Education System. Because further education was at that time within the strategic control of local authorities, the creation of polytechnics was heralded by many as representing the final step in the creation of a ‘seamless’ route of progression from primary school education right through to the awarding of higher degrees, all under the aegis and financial control of the local education authority. The creation of polytechnics enabled much wider participation in higher education, although they never achieved equal status with universities in the public perception. The binary system came to end following the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, which granted the polytechnics university status and removed them from local authority control. See also college of education.

Subjects: Education.

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