Recipe for decline 1

July 18, 2003

We believe the transfer of courses between the University of Wales Swansea and the Swansea Institute of Higher Education is based on a flawed view of teaching, teacher education and research. Senior managers argue the transfer of nursing and law teaching from the institute to the university, and of initial teacher education and training from the university to institute, will promote the university's research focus and the institute's vocational focus. But teachers - and those preparing to teach - need to know about views on education and trends in the subjects they are teaching. The question of how children are organised, managed and taught in class is not simply common sense: it derives from a sound understanding of what is to be taught and those to whom it is being taught.

That is why our teaching is underpinned by research.

A better way forward is closer cooperation between the two departments, drawing on their strengths. It is essential to sustain, cherish and nurture the research base in education and to demonstrate commitment to retaining teacher education and educational research. Without this, the university's plans are a recipe for decline in the discipline of education and teacher recruitment and retention in Wales. The impact on the wider community can be only detrimental.

The chair of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales told the Welsh Assembly that, while collaboration between institutions was necessary, it was important to win staff support. The reconfiguration plans for education in Swansea do not meet this criterion.

Maurice Whitehead, Roy Lowe, Gareth Elwyn Jones and all 47 other members
Department of Education
University of Wales Swansea

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