Saturday, January 08, 2011

The price of Wales' Tuition Fees policy.

Let's get one thing straight before I type another word. I have no criticism of the policy adopted by the National Assembly Government towards the funding of post 18 education. None at all. It's very different from the policy adopted by the UK Government in respect of England. That's devolution in action. But what has surprised me is that there has been almost no conjecture about what the consequences might be of the 'Welsh' policy. If it was possible to do what the Assembly Government has done, without any consequences whatsoever, it would be hard to justify anything different.

Anyway, my ear and attention has been alerted to today's news that the board of Uwic has voted to close six of its courses, make 35 staff redundant, and reduce student numbers. Is there any connection I ponder. The reporting of this has referred to similar pressures on universities across Britain but there was one aspect of the BBC report that particularly interested me. It was a quote from Professor Deian Hopkin, a much respected former vice-chancellor of two universities. He is quoted as saying "They (the Assembly Government) are now saying that they've (the universities) got to try to adjust the whole package to suit a very important financial provision they've made for students". Now, what can that mean? Bearing in mind the huge public interest there has been in the differing approaches towards paying for Further Education in the different parts of the UK, I anticipate that there will be more interest in the differing consequences over the period leading up to the Assembly election - if there are any consequences that is.


Anonymous said...

Looking at some of the courses that are being stopped, I don't think employers will miss them!

They should've shut these courses down in the good days and pump the money into courses that can regenerate our economy: I.T, Sciences and I.P.

I never thought Criminology and Sociology with political studies would ever be useful!

But I agree Glyn that this story hasn't gone away and I hope the WAG will disclose what's going on (I understand they can't be fully open to something like this).

Just a question Glyn that I don't actually know the answer. Who actually allowed some 'techs' to become Uni's i.e UWIC, LJMU- was it thanks to Tony Blair, or had the previous Government already put the wheels in motion?

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - Its quite a popular view that some courses are not worthwhile - though I admit to being supportive of some that are dismissed. E.g., I do not dismiss media studies. The creative industries are now such a huge part of the economy that this could be an important study area. Get no support for this view at home!!

Like you, I'm not in any way critical of the WAG policy - just that I find it hard to believe it doesn't have any balancing downside.

And I must admit that I don't know the precise cronology and responsibility for changing the names of all further education institutions to universities - but I've always thought it was John Major's Government. I'll have to check now. Anyway, personally I have no problem with this. What's in a name.

Anonymous said...

"The creative industries are now such a huge part of the economy that this could be an important study area."

Bit rich coming from the party hitting the creative iondustries in Wales by hammering S4C isn't it?