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Shadow Education Minister urges “careful consideration” on future of Welsh Universities

November 30, 2011 10:18 AM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Education in the Assembly, Aled Roberts, has reacted to today's Statement by the Minister for Education, Leighton Andrews, by calling for evidence-based decisions on any future mergers of Higher Education institutions.

Speaking in the wake of today's announcements, Aled Roberts AM said:

"Any HE mergers must be evidence-based, with students and standards, not finance, at the heart of the decisions. It is essential that careful consideration is given to any proposals.

"I am pleased that the Minister has recognised the need to examine further the options for greater regional coherence in the delivery of further and higher education in North Wales. Whilst it is disappointing that we will have to wait for a further announcement on this issue, it is imperative that both sectors' roles are considered at the same time. Any reorganisation of further education can then be implemented so as to avoid an extended period of uncertainty within both sectors.

"Today's Statement is welcome in that it empowers the research sector in Wales and allows institutions such as Glyndwr University, which has strong links with local businesses in North Wales, to continue to provide a high standard of educational provision.

"The Minister has said that his plans for HE institutions in South-East Wales will involve detailed consultation, and I trust that consultation will be meaningful and extensive. If other models are put forward by the institutions concerned, they should be assured of being given worthy consideration.

"The whole emphasis during this period must be on engagement, evidence and the best possible educational outcomes for students in Wales. Both students and staff need to look forward to a period of stability after any changes have been implemented."