Welsh universities face radical overhaul

Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews has announced plans for a radical overhaul of Higher Education in Wales.

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Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews has announced plans for a radical overhaul of Higher Education in Wales.

Cardiff-UniversityOn Monday, the government published a report undertaken for it by Professor Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor of Exeter University, into the provision of Higher Education in South East Wales.

Arguing Wales “needs one successful Russell Group university and one successful post‐1992 university in SE Wales”, Smith concluded the best option would be for Cardiff University to remain a free-standing institution whilst seeing a strategic merger of the Universities of Glamorgan and Newport with Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Whilst both Glamorgan and Newport have embraced the idea of a merger which they said would enable them to better compete on the UK and global stage, Cardiff Metropolitan has previously made clear its outright objection to the move.

With the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) having last year also recommended such a merger, the minister yesterday put himself on a collision course with Cardiff Met.


See also:

Fall in applications undermines government claims fee rise will not deter students 11 Jul 2012

Putting an individual through university generates £227k for the economy 9 Jun 2012

State school students more likely to achieve a First at Oxford than independent schoolers 24 May 2012


Addressing assembly members, Andrews explained:

“Having considered the available evidence and the issues raised in discussions, I continue to believe that HEFCW’s proposal for a strong metropolitan university in South East Wales remains a sound one.

“I welcome, therefore, the recent announcement by the University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales, Newport regarding their intention to merge.

“They intend to create an institution with an enhanced applied research capacity, a focus on business engagement and employability, and improved access opportunities for local learners.

“I have noted the recent response of the governing body of Cardiff Metropolitan University to the proposed merger and of their desire to remain outside of any merger discussions. However, I continue to believe that there is a case for that institution to join with the University of Wales, Newport and the University of Glamorgan.”

He continued:

“Since I am minded to accept HEFCW’s proposal, I would also expect to proceed to a similar and concurrent consultation on the dissolution of the Cardiff Metropolitan University HE Corporation. I would hope to see progress in terms of Cardiff Metropolitan’s involvement in the new merged institution in 2014.”

Whilst the Tory education spokeswoman, Angela Burns, branded the decision a “final assault on Cardiff Metropolitan University”, in welcoming an opportunity to “blaze a trail” towards a new education system, NUS Wales president Stephanie Lloyd concluded:

“The students I talk to are worried less about institutions and titles and more about where their course will be, what facilities are on offer and what the job prospects will be like afterwards. This should be everyone’s focus from here on in.”

Responding, a spokesperson for Cardiff Metropolitan University expressed disappointment at the decision, arguing there had been a “failure to provide a single piece of evidence to support such a merger”.

They went on, however, to note the board of governors at the university “will need time to review the substance of the statement before commenting further”.


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10 Responses to “Welsh universities face radical overhaul”

  1. NewsatLeft

    Welsh universities face radical overhaul http://t.co/hSiHjVhG #PublicServicesforAll #CardiffUniversity #RussellGroup #universities

  2. NewsatLeft

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  3. Ed Jacobs

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  4. Shamik Das

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  5. Political Planet

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  6. Claire Peach

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  7. leftlinks

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  8. Pulp Ark

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  9. Stopthesuperuni


    Do you think you can wait any longer to take action against this sort of thing? We warned you it would happen: Want to find out why? Read on AND TAKE ACTION NOW!

    This is the Stop The Super University NOW Campaign,

    Set-up by local residents in solidarity with Students, Staff and Businesses in Wales, who are opposed to the resulting cuts and subsiquent costs socially, economically, politically and environmentally that will occur by the creating of “Super Universities” in Wales.

    Our aim is to reveal the truth about these plans, especially the fact that the Super Universities will forever ruin the opportunities for further and higher education in Wales, as well as giving those who are profiting from such plans an unjust monopoly over the industry for their own gains.

    We also wish to warn young people of the risks to their educational choices and the fact that this plan might create a two-tier system – One University for the “elite” and one sub-standard university for everyone else (with this uni most likely also taking control of the jobs market) as well as the lack of representation they will have when enrolling to such a establishment. Already Students at Cardiff Metropolitan University has voted with its feet, with over 80% knowing that their studies and future prospects would be irrepairably damaged as a direct result, along with concern being mooted by students at Newport and elsewhere also. There is no wish within the student body or university staff body in Wales for this merger – Despite this clear opposition, the taxdodging Education Minister carries on regardless – so further action needs to be taken now.

    Already Cardiff Council, Cardiff Metropolitan University have spoken out, plus many staff and students from all of Wales’ institutions have come to us, uncovering the plans that the wealthy and powerful few have set in place, including the silencing of any debate both in public and in the media over the long-term consiquences of such actions, as well as legalised “gagging”/“compulsory redundancies” of members of staff from those institutions in favour of the plans for “corporate reasons”. International students have also come forward and reported the immense systems failure that they face, including underhand methods to make them stay on (everything from grade-changing without reason between “pass” and “fail” despite high subject attainment, to heavy-handed charges well in excess of the income they and their families have) and dragging them into poverty – This is a discrace to the values that we as a nation hold.

    We are against the idea of a centralised and controlled education economy set-out and directly controlled by one minister (Leighton Andrews – who double-crossed the Lib-Dems and is about to double cross the people of Wales with his scheme) and one institution (Glamorgan University Group) who are using this plan for their own profit and selfish greed-gotten gains, especially so shortly after the failure of the University of Wales Federal Super University.

    We encourage those who want to learn the truth and stop this disaster, to follow our posts, spread the word in protest and to start the debate going in the higher echelons of government and civic society – because if it really is such a “good scheme” as the Minister claims, then why are so many people being silenced from speaking out? We also encourage those with information to come forward in confidence if they have any further information on the cuts to further and higher education in Wales that will have long-term impact on the Welsh Economy.

    The Power is in your hands – Don’t let us down


    Stop The Super University NOW Campaign

    [email protected]

  10. Anonymous

    Yea, funny, Ms. NUS Wales, that’s exactly what they’re worried about in a University which would move their courses, change the syllabus and give them facilities very different to the ones they signed on for.

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