Going back for my MA, I graduated from the University of Wales, Bangor.
Later still, it became Bangor University, but the degrees were, I think, still validated by the University of Wales, which was sometimes a country-wide institution which determined the strategic location of subjects and centres across its constituent colleges, and sometimes a more minimalist body with a few specialist centres and degree-validating powers.
The decision, announced yesterday, comes after it was exposed as having suspect links to foreign colleges, including an institution run by a Malaysian pop star with bogus degrees.
In a statement, the university says: “The transformed university will cease to be an accrediting body for other universities in Wales.
“It will instigate discussions with these universities to withdraw from awarding degrees to their students. The university will also bring to a close validated programmes offered at centres in the UK and overseas and introduce a new academic model.”
If I gave it much thought, I rather liked being a U of W graduate: it seemed like a proud and sensible organisation, and one with a good public face - named after a country, no less! I guess it ranked alongside the University of London, another collective institution which is falling apart as the more prestigious members discover the magic of 'branding'.
So it's sad to see this fine institution pretty much bite the dust. After a string of validation scandals, including award degrees to Malaysians 'attending' a fake college run by a pop star, the University of Wales has withdrawn all degree validations except for the limited number it directly controls. With a small population and specific educational requirements (given its geographical, social, industrial and linguistic situations), there's a need for devolved Wales to take a national overview and run its educational provision jointly, rather than abandon the constituent colleges to the tooth-and-claw of competition and marketing.
Certainly the University of Wales as an organisation is fatally flawed and corrupt, but we need to fix it, not abandon it. Meanwhile, let's use this sad case to point out to this moronic government that their privatised model will inevitably lead to this kind of fraud and malfeasance.