Visa scam means scram, minister tells University of Wales chair

October 11, 2011

The Welsh education minister has called for the chair of the council of the University of Wales, Hugh Thomas, to "consider his position" following last week’s revelations about a visa scam at a linked college.

Leighton Andrews said in a statement that it was "untenable for the University of Wales to continue under its current leadership".

The statement follows a BBC investigation that last week found staff at Rayat London College, which offers University of Wales qualifications, had offered to help an undercover reporter posing as a student to cheat her way to qualifications.

Mr Andrews called the accusations "damning criticism".

He said that the "continuing adverse publicity attached to the University of Wales is damaging not just to the institution but to the Welsh higher education sector and to Wales as a whole".

He added: "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…I therefore call upon the chair of the council of the University of Wales to consider his position in the interests of the institution and of Wales.

"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."

However, Mr Andrews wished the institution's new vice-chancellor, Medwin Hughes, "every success in his new role".

The minister also quoted the recent McCormick review of higher education governance in Wales, which he paraphrased by saying that the "University of Wales could not continue in its present form and should be either substantially reformed or wound up".

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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