Thursday, 20 January 2011

Worrying education data in Wales must not be ignored.

At a time when the Welsh blogosphere is busy discussing and debating the decision of True Wales not to launch an official "No Campaign" another very important bit of news is in danger of slipping through the net.

Today the university admission figures for last year were released.  The figures showed that there was a huge drop in the numbers of Welsh students making it to university whilst in all other parts of the UK the figures stood still or increased.

This data comes soon after the very disappointing PISA results in Wales.

It is clear that there are potentially serious failings in the current Welsh education system as evidenced by the two stories above.  I do not want to advocate knee jerk reactions based on one poor year but if the trend continues we must take action.

Having a workforce with both basic skills as well a strong base of highly skilled graduates is vital to develop and grow our economy.  If we wish to attract new business a strong workforce is key and at present there is a danger that the Welsh workforce will become less good than other parts of the UK.

The underfunding of schools and higher education in Wales cannot continue if we are serious about wanting a better future for our country.  Eventually we may well have to take the difficult decision to reduce health spending  in order to ensure that future generations of Welsh children are given better opportunities.

Finally I fear that the Assembly Government's highly populist decision not to put up tuition fees in Wales will soon lead to Welsh university funding dropping even further behind the rest of the UK.

They may be feeling pleased with themselves right now but  the Assembly government could well have consigned future generations of Welsh students to a second rate education.

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