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An HE own goal.

* SIR - As a University of Wales (UW) Moderator to two institutions in Spain, I am surprised at criticisms without evidence levied against the University of Wales and the lack of support from senior actors in Welsh higher education.

A Week In Week Out television programme was right to bring to light anomalies in specific colleges and among specific staff.

But I do not see the evidence from the programme that the University of Wales was materially or even superficially to blame. This was wrongly inferred and many added fuel to the fire, quick to criticise in their turn.

The result which I am witnessing is a growing poor perception of Welsh higher education, which is worrying and may cause lasting damage.

What I am seeing includes valuable UW individuals who have resigned, or are to retire quietly and without fanfare, or are menaced in their jobs and livelihoods.

Several current and prospective overseas students to Wales are asking me if a Welsh award (whatever the awarding institution) is worthwhile.

Some of the students currently targeting a UW award, and their institutions, are asking for information and assurances. The communication can be lacking or contradictory.

I do not understand why we created this own goal? My own experience as a moderator suggests that moderators, external examiners, internal examiners were doing a good job. The registry officers also were doing a job well and had built up over years good relations with some 140 institutions across the world.

The institutions I was visiting were exemplary and in many respects evidencing best practice.

So who decided that UW should be pilloried, and why? PROFESSOR JOHN GUNSON (Retired)
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 21, 2012
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