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The Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) was a degree awarding authority in the United Kingdom from 1965 until 1992. The CNAA awarded academic degrees at polytechnics, Central Institutions and other non-university institutions such as Colleges of Higher Education until they were awarded university status. When the CNAA was wound up the British Government asked the Open University to continue the work of awarding degrees in non-university institutions. Additionally, the university has responsibility for CNAA records.

The CNAA, through its many subject panels, oversaw the degree awarding powers of polytechnics. Above all the CNAA saw itself as preserving a comparability with degree level awards in universities, a feature which can be seen as having both positive and negative aspects: positive in that it preserved a formal ‘parity of esteem’ between the awards of the two parts of the binary system (e.g. retaining the common currency of the undergraduate degree for entry to postgraduate study); but negative, in the eyes of some (e.g. Pratt, 1997), in that it encouraged an ‘academicism’ in the new sector and slowed an acceptance of the transformations required finally to break the boundaries of the old ‘elite’ system. In the event, the polytechnics were associated with many innovations, including, women’s studies, the academic study of communications and media, sandwich degrees, the rise of business studies, and not least, were much more responsive than older institutions in provision for the admission of non-standard students.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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English

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CNAA

  1. Council for National Academic Awards

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