‘Min­is­ters tak­ing eye off the ball’

South Wales Evening Post - - LETTERS - LIZ PERKINS @lizperkin­spost • 01792 545551 el­iz­[email protected]­line.co.uk

THE Welsh Gov­ern­ment has been ac­cused of “tak­ing its eye off the ball” when it comes to higher ed­u­ca­tion in light of sus­pen­sions at Swansea Univer­sity.

Plaid Cymru shadow cab­i­net min­is­ter for post-16 ed­u­ca­tion Bethan Sayed AM claimed the sit­u­a­tion at the univer­sity and re­cent gover­nance is­sues in higher ed­u­ca­tion high­lighted the is­sues the sec­tor faced.

Mrs Sayed ac­cused the Welsh Gov­ern­ment of “in­ac­tion” over the Swansea case after Welsh Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Kirsty Wil­liams re­fused to com­ment on grow­ing con­cern sur­round­ing the gover­nance sit­u­a­tion at the univer­sity.

Sus­pended Swansea Univer­sity vice-chan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor Richard Davies has ac­cused se­nior of­fi­cials at the in­sti­tu­tion of dam­ag­ing his rep­u­ta­tion, and claimed the univer­sity took ac­tion against him on the ba­sis of a “neg­li­gently flawed in­ves­ti­ga­tion”.

In a leaked 10-page griev­ance let­ter to mem­bers of the Univer­sity Coun­cil, Pro­fes­sor Davies said his sus­pen­sion had im­pacted on his men­tal health.

Both Pro­fes­sor Davies and Pro­fes­sor Marc Cle­ment, dean of the univer­sity’s man­age­ment school, were sus­pended from their roles in Novem­ber along with two other mem­bers of staff.

Mrs Sayed, who was ad­dress­ing Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Kirsty Wil­liams in the Senedd said: “There is con­cern across the sec­tor and from par­ents that this gov­ern­ment has taken its eye off the ball when it comes to post-16 ed­u­ca­tion – the for­mer min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity for this say­ing as much last year.

“The col­lege sec­tor is un­der ma­jor pres­sure. Last year a strike was nar­rowly averted and work­load pres­sures are still a re­al­ity.

“We are also still wait­ing for progress on long-awaited re­forms, rec­om­mended in re­views such as the Hazelkorn re­view.

“We’re also see­ing ma­jor is­sues re­lated to gover­nance and fund­ing in the higher ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor. In Swansea Univer­sity, a re­spected vice-chan­cel­lor of 15 years be­ing sus­pended and barred from his home, and the Univer­sity Court postponed with­out a rea­son why.

“What are you go­ing to do to hold higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions to ac­count to en­sure gover­nance process is ad­hered to ap­pro­pri­ately? “

But the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter re­fused to com­ment dur­ing the course of the ex­change.

Bethan Sayed and Kirsty Wil­liams.

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