This article outlines the story of higher education in Wales from the creation of the University of Wales in 1893 to the present day. The granting of a charter to the federal university represented one of the major achievements of cultural nationalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After the Second World War the situation changed dramatically with the expansion in student numbers, an increasing percentage of whom were born outside Wales. This expansion was accompanied by a major attempt to defederalize the national University. Two further step changes are analysed. From the 1980s the system has been conditioned by continued expansion in student numbers in the context of economic contraction, imposing hitherto unprecedented strains. Rationalization came with the 1992 Education Act which demolished the binary line between university and local authority institutions of higher education. Devolution, in the form of the National Assembly for Wales and its government after 1999, is then evaluated in the context of changing manifestations of nationality bearing on the higher education system. The evaluations of the Assembly's Education Committee and the responsible Minister are probed in some depth in an attempt to understand the implications for the people of Wales of international institutions of higher education operating in a devolved political system, while the national University fragments.
How to Cite:
Jones G. E., (2007) “The Welsh Universities and Devolution”, Wales Journal of Education 14(1).