§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the relationship between the proposed foundation degrees and the higher national diplomas. 
§ Mr. Wicks
[holding answer 16 March 2000]: The Foundation Degree is part of a deliberate strategy to diversify higher education to meet the differing demands of a knowledge-driven economy. Although it will build on the best elements of existing two year higher education provision, including Higher National Diplomas, this new qualification will offer a distinct combination of features. It will equip students with the employability skills, specialist technical knowledge and broad understanding needed in the new economy.