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Education, News, Politics

Education minister Leighton Andrews University of Wales council chair to ‘consider his position’

Education minister Leighton Andrews has called on the Chair of Council of University of Wales to ‘consider his position’ after a catalogue of damning reports and criticism of the institution.

In a statement released to the press this afternoon Mr. Andrews said “the once great name” of the University had been sullied by poor governance.

“In recent years, I regret to say, the reputation of this once great University has suffered a number of setbacks.

“The University of Wales has been the focus of long-standing and frequent criticism for repeated failures of institutional governance.”

Previous statements by the minister in March and June this year highlighted continuing serious concerns about the University’s external validation arrangements and management of its collaborative enterprises.

Mr. Andrews added:

“I have made repeated calls on the Governing Body of the University to take responsibility for these failings and to take urgent action where required.

“Last week we saw yet more damning criticism levelled at the University of Wales after serious allegations were made about certain institutions whose qualifications were validated by the University.”

Investigations by BBC journalist Ciaran Jenkins uncovered that the University of Wales had been accrediting degrees from a number of questionable overseas colleges, prompting Leighton Andrews to last year say the institution had ‘brought Wales into disrepute’.

Speaking again today Mr. Andrews was keen to stress criticisms of the institution in the recent McCormick Report.

The report considered that the University of Wales, because it receives so little public funding, “…is the nearest thing Wales has to a private institution in higher education. However, it is an institution that is deploying a national asset – the all-Wales brand – and yet has no national accountability.”

Mr Andrews added that:

“Ultimately, McCormick concluded that theUniversityofWalescould not continue in its present form and should be either substantially reformed or wound up.”

Mr. Andrews added that he wished Professor Medwin Hughes, the University of Wales new Vice Chancellor, who took up post last week every success, but said that recent events and continuing bad publicity meant that many associated with the governance of the University over recent years should consider their positions very carefully:

“In view of the further allegations made in the press last week, I believe it is untenable for the University of Wales to continue under its current leadership.

“The very least we should expect is that those who hold senior positions of governance in our higher education institutions should exercise effective oversight of their university’s operations and take full responsibility for their stewardship.

“I therefore call upon the Chair of the Council of theUniversityofWalesto consider his position in the interests of the institution and ofWales. I do not say this lightly, but we cannot have a situation where a catalogue of mismanagement undermines the whole of the higher education sector in Wales.”

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