The Tertiary Education and Research (TER) Bill will set out our vision for the future of post 16 education into law and creates a new national steward for post-16 education to expand lifelong learning, focus on learner welfare, and support our colleges and universities.
Taking this Bill through the Senedd is an important Programme for Government commitment and is part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.
Here are five things the TER Bill will help achieve:
1. Bringing post-16 education together
Wales will be only UK nation to have colleges, universities, apprenticeships, sixth forms and adult education managed as a single system following the establishment of the new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research.
This will support learners to move seamlessly from compulsory education to post-compulsory education and training.
2. A commitment to lifelong learning
The Bill sets out a new duty for the commission to promote lifelong learning and a duty for the first time to fund “proper facilities” for further education for adults.
Lifelong learning will help us create a fairer society and a prosperous economy. The TER Bill offers an opportunity to give everyone the chance to develop or re-boot their career in adult life.
3. Making sure learners and students are heard
There is a new requirement on providers to ensure learners’ and students’ interests are represented and their well-being and welfare supported.
The Commission will ensure that post-16 education providers have procedures in place for investigating complaints by students.
4. More Welsh medium education
The Bill will improve opportunities to study at college or university bilingually and in Welsh.
Welsh belongs to us all, and its important people can study in the language they choose.
5. A clear purpose for post-16 education
This Bill sets in law the Welsh Government’s values and goals for a more accessible, higher quality and lifelong tertiary education system.
The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said:
“It is only by adopting a whole system, whole sector, and whole nation approach that we will narrow educational inequalities, expand opportunities, and raise standards.
“The reforms delivered by this Bill will help break down barriers, secure easier learner pathways and support continued investment in research and innovation.
“I view this bill as the ‘parity of esteem’ bill. It will support the different but complementary strengths of all institutions, so that learners of all ages have access to the full range of opportunities and are able to contribute economically, academically, and to our communities.”