The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales has set out its plans for the next three years in a corporate strategy which is increasingly distinctive from that of its English counterpart.
The corporate plan for 1994/95 to 1997/98, the council's first, paves the way for a radical new payment-by-results funding methodology linked to a fully modular qualifications system. It also involves a quality assessment regime based on "profiling" the strengths and weaknesses of departments and greater integration of activities between institutions, with support for mergers where appropriate.
A report on the plan issued this week identifies the strengths of the Welsh sector which the new policies are designed to enhance, and the weaknesses which need to be tackled.
While there is a wide range of provision among the higher education institutions in Wales, there is a need for greater flexibility in teaching and learning approaches, and greater collaboration between institutions to increase efficiency and avoid duplication of activity.
The council sees the adoption of modular and credit accumulation systems as an effective means for extending student choice and flexibility.
The report says that by 1996/97 a large proportion of course provision in Wales is expected to be available on a modular basis. "The council will seek to facilitate this trend by adapting its funding methods so that modules become the base unit for funding."
It adds: "The development of a modular funding method also provides a means for exploring the possibility for funding allocations to be influenced by outputs, for example on the basis of achievement of credits."