binary system of higher education
binary system of higher educationthe system of HIGHER EDUCATION which operated in the UK between 1965 and 1991, in which education was provided by UNIVERSITIES and POLYTECHNICS. Universities awarded their own degrees; those of polytechnics were awarded by the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA). Although formally of the same status, differences between the two types of institution reflected their different historical development. While an overlap existed between the two types of institution, polytechnics provided a wider range of vocational and parttime courses. Differences also existed in the occupational destinations of graduates, with graduates of polytechnics sometimes experiencing greater difficulty in gaining graduate level employment (see also GRADUATE LABOUR MARKET). The creation of the NEW UNIVERSITIES in 1991 marked the formal ending of the binary system. However, many of the differences between the previous universities and polytechnics (not least in levels of research) remain as differences between older and new universities. See also MASS HIGHER EDUCATION.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000