On 22 December 2010, we published a more explicit description of how we envisage the shape of the higher education (HE) sector in Wales should look in the future, in order to deliver a sustainable Welsh HE system.
This followed requests from the higher education sector for HEFCW to take the lead in defining reconfiguration expectations, and built upon pledges made by us in our latest Corporate Strategy and by the Welsh Assembly Government in its higher education strategy, For our Future.
The main elements are:
• By March 2013, the higher education sector in Wales should move to a structure of no more than six institutions (not including the Open University in Wales).
• Their distribution should reflect regional needs such that there should be no more than two institutions per region (as we have defined previously), albeit with several delivery locations.HEFCW newsletter January 2011
• Each region should have research intensive (in which we will increasingly focus our research funding to support sustainable excellence and relevance to Welsh Assembly Government objectives) and strong community/widening access focused provision.
• No more than two HE institutions should have an income below the UK median and, given the higher population density and easier mobility, neither of these should be in south east Wales.
Discussions with the higher education sector about how to achieve the reconfigured HE sector will take place in the new year.
We have not until now been so explicit in our expectations for the structure of higher education in Wales, but we have been asked to give a clearer lead. We believe that this will make the sector the strongest and most sustainable it can be in order to compete for students, research funding and business contracts.
Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) | http://www.hefcw.ac.uk/documents/news/newsletter/Newsletter%202011/HEFCW%20newsletter%20English%20Jan2011.pdf | 30 January 2011