With chaos looming for our great institutions, no "educational asset" is more at risk than our ancient [and not so ancient] seats of higher learning, the jewels in our academic crown: the great Universities of Dorset. Chief amongst these will always, of course, be the University of Afpuddle which, having closed its door to students some months ago as a result of the CONTRIK-69 outbreak, is now preparing never to re-open them again. An early pioneer of hassle-free, content-less, unexamined learning and a world leader in virtual degree certificates, the University was amongst the first to recognise the market opportunities open to progressive organisations willing to forgo a proper education in return for mass throughput and an increased ability to satisfy government graduate targets which now require everyone over the age of 21 to have a "degree of some sort or other".
Having developed systems capable of issuing thousands of intelligence-blind degrees to those frustratingly unable to cope with the demands of conventional learning yet fully-capable of paying the fees involved - "we learned quite a lot from the American Bible colleges but upscaled significantly" - the University is now ready, says Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Research, Sport, Commercial Outreach, Opportunism and On-Campus Betting, Professor Grantham Capricorn, to take the next step. Originally codenamed Operation All-Shall-Have-Prizes, the Afpuddle Senate is now ready to launch its Degree Mill - a state-of-the-art industrial-scale programme which will transport students seamlessly through a world-wide interweb-based virtual programme designed to fast-track anyone who can afford the fees. The first "from cradle to grave" personally-tailored "get your degree of choice and get it quick" [sic] system will see students registering online, paying a substantial course fee and then sitting back whilst an automated process takes them "invisibly" from matriculation to graduation without further intervention either from them or from any non-administrative University Officer.
"This not only frees the hard-pressed student from time-consuming commitment but also allows Academic Staff to get on with their lives without interference from needy students", the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Research, Sport, Commercial Outreach, Opportunism and On-Campus Betting said. "The cost savings on counseling alone are tremendous" Professor Capricorn adds. Asked if this radical departure from the traditional methods and ethos of University learning might be a matter of regret to some, a puzzled Professor Capricorn could think of no reason why it should: "it's clean, flawless, egalitarian and surprisingly straightforward and, in addition, we can deploy our human and non-human assets in other ways", he said. "The students get the degree they want, we never have to see them and life can go on though..." he added after a moment's reflection, "thinking about it, we will have to revise some of our betting forecasts, given that on-campus betting will be way down in future and the odds on little Timmy getting a first will have to be slashed".