Letter: If it ain't broke...

January 25, 2002

The Welsh Assembly's education committee has defined a vision for higher education with which no one could disagree. It is a pity that some of its recommendations are so manifestly ill-suited to the fulfilment of that vision ("Specialist area clusters urged in Welsh review", THES , January 18).

The committee concludes that the University of Wales will "cease to exist in its present form" and recommends that the university's member institutions seek and use their own degree-awarding powers.

The committee provides no satisfactory rationale for its negative conclusions about the university. Indeed, many aspects of its report display a disturbing lack of rigour and analysis.

The committee wants Welsh institutions to award qualifications that "carry international currency, prestige and recognition". Many will recognise this as an accurate description of the University of Wales's existing degree. To substitute a range of new and untried qualifications for our respected degree would be foolhardy.

The report urges greater collaboration. I fully support this. But if the university were broken up, with a range of new qualifications adopted, collaboration would suffer. Collaboration is best effected through a common degree framework, which the university already provides.

The best vehicle for enhanced collaboration is a revivified University of Wales.

Derec Llwyd Morgan
Senior vice-chancellor
University of Wales, Cardiff

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