Today's system of tertiary education doesn't simply rob those in England and Wales of money, it robs the entire island's populace of something even more rare and less expendable - time.
For one to qualify for basically anything, be it NVQs, SVQs, Bachelor's Degrees and MBAs, one is completely and utterly bound by current regulation. It is not simply enough to prove that you know all the necessary theory and practical application, you need to also attend countless classes or, if travelling down the information highway via the OU express, hand over cash by the bucketload.
When this Knight shakes the tree of reason for a possible explanation why this should be, all that falls out is horrible cynicism fruit, no other answers besides "money" even dare to wobble loose.
If a mother, father, or any peasant of the realm wants to study entirely on their own grounds, perform their own research via the internet and library resources, why can't they? If they can prove, via the exact same examinations that normal students take, that they know exactly what normal students need to know, why should they be railroaded through the mainstream education system which saps both time and, in some of the UK, money.
To cover fees for invigilation, certification, and the rest, there could be a nominal charge to take the exam, we'll say £100 for now. Surely this would encourage those with only a few hours to spare, and the ability only to spare them at random and unpredictable times, would help with the latest political craze of "social mobility". More importantly, it would be a step in the right direction towards true social justice, giving the poor a real opportunity to increase their chances of earning a decent living wage, while placating the right and their obsession with doing it all yourself.
With a frankly startling number of universities now charging the "only in exceptional cases" full whack of £9,000 a year, not to mention travel costs and time restrictions placed on potential employment, there has never been a better time to offer real qualifications outside the mainstream outlets.