Friday 12 November 2010

A Degree of Deception

I am very proud to show you a picture from my graduation with a Hafal degree in "Recovery Studies" from our AGM/Conference yesterday (lots of pics on Hafal's Facebook will follow here). Caroline Jones, Hafal's manager in Denbighshire, was doing a brisk trade in these "fraudulent-but-fun" qualifications among many other activities which informed and entertained 200 delegates in Builth Wells.

Caroline's isn't the only dodgy academic body flogging degrees in return for no work whatsoever. Indeed I confess this is not the first time I have picked up a qualification by doing precisely nothing. Many years ago I struck a shabby deal with a shifty outfit in East Anglia which knocked out an M.A. to me in return for an "administration fee" of £8. No work at all required - just wait 3 years after you've done a normal B.A. degree (not a vast amount of work required for that either if truth be told) then send in your cheque. In fact I didn't even have to pay for it myself because my canny late uncle Gwyn Williams coughed up, figuring it was a good value means of discharging his duty as my godfather to see that I was suitably brought up.

This neat trick, shared I understand with a similarly shameless institution in Oxfordshire, has quietly been pulled for centuries and provides an enhanced CV to its beneficiaries and understandable irritation to everybody else (don't tell those student rioters - I don't want them round my place).

In ongoing discussion with our Learning Centre Principal Irene Hogan about my training needs (see this post) I have adduced my M.A. as evidence that I clearly don't need to learn anything ever again and, when that ploy comprehensively failed to convince, suggested that a course of study be found on a similar basis (i.e. fancy qualification but no work required). I suppose I could try waving my equally valid Caroline degree at Irene but meanwhile negotiations continue.

More on the conference to follow...