Ciaran Jenkins, BBC Wales Education correspondent comments,
Universities don’t normally fold overnight, let alone national institutions. But after a fortnight of mounting pressure Wales’ scandal-hit national University is set to be abolished after 118 years. An alleged visa scam involving staff at one of its many partner colleges, exposed by BBC Wales, was the final nail in its coffin. A year ago the University was as strong as ever – still the second-largest degree-awarding body in the UK, with 70,000 students around the world. Then came the first BBC Wales investigation, finding irregularities in its foreign partnerships. The Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, said Wales had been let down by its university. But worse was to follow: the suggestion that among its partners there was a college in which members of staff were offering to help students cheat their way to its degrees. Other Welsh universities turned on the institution, six out of ten calling for it to be scrapped. Only two members of the University would have remained, both located in South West Wales. The University no longer represented the whole of Wales, the country’s biggest institutions having already pulled out in the past six years. Some suspected the University would fight on and voiced fears that with each new scandal the reputation of higher education in Wales was being damaged further. But an already bitter battle between universities in Wales was being conducted in public and that could not continue. There is much to be proud of in the history of the University of Wales, not least its origins as an institution paid for by the subscriptions of education-hungry ordinary people. The final chapter in its story, however, will be one tarnished by controversy and scandal.