WQ92780 (e) Tabled on 08/05/2024

How will the Cabinet Secretary ensure that learner voices across further and higher education are heard within the new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research?

Answered by Cabinet Secretary for Education | Answered on 17/05/2024

The Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Act 2022 places a duty on the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research to prepare and publish a Learner Engagement Code. This aims to ensure that the Commission establishes strong mechanisms for learner representation and engagement across the tertiary education sector.

The code is intended to ensure learners’ interests are represented, that learners can give their views to providers about the quality of education they receive, and learners can participate in the making of decisions by their provider. The Commission will be required to keep the Learner Engagement Code under review, monitor compliance by relevant providers with the Code, and include its findings in its annual report. Compliance with the requirements of the Learner Engagement Code will be a mandatory on-going condition of registration, or a requirement via terms and conditions for non-registered learning providers who are in receipt of financial support from the Commission.

The Commission’s Board will include a number of associate members to be appointed by Welsh Ministers. These associate members will be non-voting members of the Commission and will include at least one associate learner member, representing learners in tertiary education. The associate board members will have a crucial function to provide advice to the board about matters relating to governance and service delivery from a workforce/learner perspective.

Eligible candidates for appointment as associate learner members must have undertaken tertiary education at any time during the three years preceding their appointment and hold an office or membership of a body on the most recently published relevant list.

The associate members’ function will be to provide advice or input to the Board about matters relating to governance and service delivery from a learner perspective. Their role will be to influence and advise the Board. Being non-voting members will enable a separation to be maintained between those activities required as a member of the Board and the wider activities of the organisation they represent.