Leighton Andrews, Minister for Children, Education and Lifelong Learning
I wish to update Members on progress made in my requests to the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCW) and the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) on matters relating to the University of Wales’ overseas activities.
The Chair of HEFCW has written to me advising me that HEFCW are pursuing actions to ensure that the University of Wales is incorporated into the Council’s audit and assurance processes. As I have stated before, it is of critical importance to ensure that the quality of Welsh Higher Education is held to standards of excellence – the University of Wales can be no exception. Incorporating them into HEFCW processes will, therefore, be an important step.
The Chief Executive of QAA has written responding to a number of queries I raised concerning QAA’s inspection regime – particularly in relation to the evaluation of the University of Wales’ provision. I note with satisfaction that the QAA have introduced new guidelines into the operation of overseas partnerships by British Universities. Mr McClaren also advises that QAA are considering the scope and methodology of QAA’s review work as a consequence of the recent issues surrounding the University of Wales’ overseas partnerships. I will be kept informed of the developments.
The present and future role of the University of Wales and the quality of its provision is a matter of importance. I now await a further response from HEFCW on its investigations into the University’s overseas validation in January and the report of John McCormick’s HE Governance Review on the future role of the University in February. I will keep members informed.