Welsh institutions form strategic body

March 15, 1996

A new organisation representing the interests of higher education in Wales has been launched.

Heads of Higher Education in Wales comprises the vice chancellors, principals and chief executives of all 14 higher education institutions in the principality.

Its aim, according to its chairman Keith Robbins (vice chancellor of the University of Wales, Lampeter), is to ensure that the voice of Welsh higher education is heard at the Welsh Office, and by funding bodies and a range of other international organisations.

Professor Robbins is convinced that HHEW's co-ordinating role will achieve its objective, because Scotland has already benefited from such an approach.

"Our colleagues in Scotland have already achieved a great deal through their influential Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals. And, in establishing HHEW, the Welsh sector is seeking to ensure similar benefits and advantages," he said.

HHEW intends members to identify areas of common interest, and will promote collaboration between institutions.

It will provide a forum for formulating and pursuing policy. And, it will enable the University of Wales and higher education colleges to speak with a single voice.

John Williams, HHEW vice chairman and chief executive of the North Wales Institute, said: "The committee will not be simply another talking shop.

"By taking the initiative on matters of crucial importance such as funding levels and models, quality assessment and research strategy, it will enable the institutions to give a much-needed steer to the direction of higher education in Wales." HHEW's creation is being supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

The new body has already decided that its first task will be to evaluate the contribution of higher education to the Welsh economy.

The research, due later this year, is likely to point out that universities and colleges are a major asset.

Collectively the 14 institutions are responsible for businesses that have an annual turnover of Pounds 500 million. They employ 14,000 people and educate 60,000 full-time and 20,000 part-time students.

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