.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Back of an envelope calculations?

Talking of the Welsh Education Minister there is another story in this morning's Western Mail that raises some serious questions about his solution for funding Welsh students entering higher education in future years.

I am already on record as saying that I support the principles behind this plan to top slice the teaching grant of Universities so as to reduce the burden imposed on indigenous students by excessively high tuition fees. However, I would expect that before it is introduced there can be assurances that the model is robust, properly-costed and that the risks posed to Welsh Higher Education Institutions have been properly assessed and mitigated. That is the job of the Minister and his civil servants.

Instead, the paper reveals that there is still significant work to be carried out on the policy. In response to a Freedom of Information request the Government provided a table estimating the cost of elements of the policy up to 2020-21, but an accompanying letter from the Assembly Government said: “While the broad policy intentions have been announced the final policy to which you refer in your request is still being developed ... There is still a need to undertake a significant amount of work before the overall detailed policy for higher education and student finance can be finalised and published."

As Jenny Randerson, who is the education spokeswoman for the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said: “We have always said we should seek to mitigate the impact of tuition fees on Welsh students. That remains the right approach even in a challenging financial environment. But this must be a plan for the long term not a short-term electoral fix for the Labour-Plaid government.

“Now we are told that the final policy is still being developed and that ‘significant work’ is needed before the overall detailed policy for higher education and student finance can be finalised and published. Needless to say it is essential that this work is done well before the elections in May.

“It is extremely worrying that the details of the Labour-Plaid Government’s ability to fund future years of this policy have not been forthcoming – increasingly this is beginning to look like a policy made up on the hoof for political reasons without any consideration for its long-term affordability.

“Coming after the Education Minister has admitted his policies on schools are failing, it is clear that as we approach May’s elections, the wheels are coming off the Labour-Plaid election bandwagon.”

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?