HIGHER DIPLOMA courses are a popular way to boost secondary education in an increasingly qualification-conscious and skill-focused job market. Balancing theory with practical and vocational applications, diploma courses are ideal for less academically minded students. Although they can be a valuable qualification in their own right, higher diplomas can also be an effective bridge between less than spectacular secondary qualifications and university. Higher diploma courses tend to last two or three years. Schools often offer separate streams for students with different education levels. Shorter but more intense programmes are commonly designed for students who have completed Form Seven, while slightly longer courses provide an easier pace to cater for those who enter from Form Five.