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Higher Education Academic Plan

Higher Education Academic Plan 

The Academic Plan sets out the Coleg’s priorities for supporting Welsh-medium higher education. 

When the Coleg was established a decade ago, the aim of the first Academic Plan was to ensure that students had the right to receive their higher education in Welsh. Since then, the Coleg has supported universities and further education colleges which offer courses on a higher education level, to increase the studying opportunities available to students through the medium of Welsh.   

By funding lecturing posts, creating learning resources, and offering scholarships to students, the number of courses where it is possible to study them partly through the medium of Welsh has increased dramatically.  

By the time the Coleg’s second Academic Plan was launched in 2017, the emphasis was on deepening the students’ learning experience and ensuring that students could study extensively through the medium of Welsh. As a result, it is now possible to study up to a third of degree schemes in the majority of university subjects in at least one institution in Wales.


Higher Education Academic Plan 2022 

Since 2022, the Coleg has a new Academic Plan. The work of the Coleg over the next 5-10 years will be guided by the plan.  

The 3 themes of the Academic Plan are: 

  • protecting
  • deepening
  • extending

Protecting - the rights of students to study through the medium of Welsh

The Coleg will protect what has been built over the last decade and work with providers to ensure that students can study each subject extensively through the medium of Welsh in at least one of the institutions in Wales.   


Deepening - and expanding the Welsh-medium learning experience

We will work with providers to offer a minimum of 20 credits in every year of Welsh-medium learning, so that students can maintain and develop their language skills, and their confidence in them, while they study in higher education.   

We will also be continuing to support departments who offer 1/3 or more of their degree courses through the medium of Welsh, and asking those who receive funding for supporting Welsh-medium provision to attract more students who can speak Welsh to study through the medium of Welsh.   


Extending - providing access to Welsh-medium provision to every student

The Coleg wants to ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn through the medium of Welsh, wherever they are studying and whichever subject they are studying. This is the Coleg’s most ambitious priority and it requires that the Coleg and providers attract new audiences to study through the medium of Welsh in higher education.   

This includes students in departments where there is currently no Welsh-medium option, students who choose not to study because they are not confident speaking Welsh, and students who have no Welsh-language skills. In order to achieve this, new innovative learning methods will need to be introduced and expertise needs to be disseminated among providers.    

Delivering the Academic Plan

The Coleg has several financial funds to support universities and further education colleges that now provide higher education courses. Every year, the Coleg gives a number of grants to support elements such as creating resources, collaborative learning between institutions, research and studying tours. But the majority of the financial support will come via the Subject Grants and Incentive Grants.  

These grants are given to institutions that provide degree courses where students can study some of their course through the medium of Welsh. The institutions must offer two things in order to be eligible for the grant: 40 credits or more through the medium of Welsh in every year of study (which is 33% of the degree course), or 80 credits or more in every year of study (which is 67% of the degree course). To provide 40 credits, it is expected that every department has at least 2 full-time equivalent members of staff who contribute to the learning, and at least 4 staff members to provide 80 credits.   

The cost of maintaining the provision will be shared between the Coleg and the provider. The way in which the cost is shared is determined according to the subject categories, of which there are 4:  

  • Priority subjects: where there is obvious need from employers and/or based on public policy on bilingual graduates e.g. health and care subjects; 
  • Development subjects: where the number of students currently studying through the medium of Welsh are relatively small, but where there is potential and a desire to develop; 
  • Advanced subjects: where the provision and the number of students is healthy, but where the provision is not yet sustainable;  
  • Mature subjects: where teaching through the medium of Welsh is embedded, the staffing capacity is strong, and the number of students is usually adequate on a national level to support the provision without much additional financial support. 

The subject grants model also awards departments for the number of students they have who are studying through the medium of Welsh, in order to encourage departments to aim higher.  

The purpose of these grants is to support institutions to provide new provision in Welsh where there is currently no staffing capacity. The funding will be used to fund a post, and the institute will share some of that cost also. In most cases, these posts will be for lecturers who will be responsible for creating and presenting new modules and Welsh-medium learning opportunities to students. Those in the posts will also be able to promote the new provision among prospective students, and also find other staff who can contribute to Welsh-medium learning in due course.  

These are new grants from the Coleg, and they will be used to support the creation of provision that can bridge subjects. By creating modules that can be offered within many degree courses, it is possible to create new provision in departments where there was no Welsh-medium provision previously, and bring more students together in sustainable learning classes.  

These grants have been carefully planned between the Coleg and Welsh-medium managers at institutions, and work side by side with the priorities of the Higher Education Academic Plan.