Wales needs top institute

November 29, 1996

IT IS HARDLY surprising that the Welsh principals are opposed to concentrating research in separate research institutions or elite universities in Wales, and think it would be academically and economically damaging (THES, November 15). For this would mean promoting the interests of a few of their members against the interests of the majority of the other members.

A vote of the principals is bound to be against such a policy. Yet the fact remains that there is no world-class university-level institution in Wales, and even by British standards most university colleges and other institutions of higher education in Wales are (like Welsh rugby and soccer) third rate and becoming worse by the minute.

Wales desperately needs an institute of research and advanced learning of international status, and the determination of the principals to prevent this being established consigns Welsh higher education to continued mediocrity. If the collective wisdom of the principals is against such an institution, one must question the individual judgement of those involved and the way in which decisions are made.

A J H Latham

Senior lecturer in international economic history,University of Wales, Swansea

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