Welsh plan gets mixed response

March 15, 2002

Higher education leaders in Wales have given a mixed response to Welsh Assembly proposals for reorganisation of the sector.

Some vice-chancellors welcomed the news that the assembly planned to raise higher education funding to at least match levels in England and Scotland over the next eight years.

But others complained that making additional funding conditional on reform and reconfiguration would mean resources were divided between too many initiatives.

Keith Robbins, vice-chancellor of the University of Wales Lampeter, said the "level of superintendence" proposed went "beyond what one normally understands to be the relationship between government and institutions".

The assembly's action plan, published last week, proposes that Welsh institutions be organised into geographical and functional clusters and centres of excellence. Next year's grant conditions will be tied to successful reconfiguration, and in subsequent years to targets such as increasing access and improving research and teaching.

Higher Education Wales, the Welsh vice-chancellors and principals' organisation, is to give its official verdict in the next few weeks.

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