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University of Cornwall News

9th April 1998

The following articles appeared in today's The Cornishman:

Unified approach to university bid

Editorial Comment

There was welcome re-affirmation this week from Penwith and Truro colleges of their support for a university campus at Trereife.

Principal at Penwith College, Richard Andrusko says that he does not see this proposal as necessarily excluding ideas put forward by other educational establishments, such as Plymouth University and agrees, as we all do, that the case for a university for the county is proven.

The Cornishman supports the call from the heads of Penwith, Truro, St Austell and Cornwall colleges to a joint approach to achieving this end but we believe that a university campus here in Penwith should be at the heart of this approach.

There is no doubt that the colleges will play a central part in the provision of higher education in the county, along with remote learning with the increasing availability of information technology in the home, but at the end of the day it's horses for courses and while the colleges are well placed to develop the provision of sub-degree courses we lack any cohesive approach to the provision of a wide range of higher degree courses in the county which 'a purpose built, landmark campus' would provide, along with the attendant research facilities and all the other spin offs to the local economy.

Having studied this in depth, Exeter University chose Penzance as the site for such a development and we have neither seen nor heard anything since that would dissuade us that this is not the best option.

Having said that, there is no reason why all parties should not get their heads together to come up with a unified approach.

For it is certain that while we are pulling in opposite directions and various spanners are finding their way into the works, we will end up, as in so many other instances, still talking about it years after the Millennium has come and gone.

College heads back Trereife
'We are agreed that the case for a university in Cornwall is proven'

by Alison Rowe &
Steve Fletcher
Staff Reporters

TWO out of the four college heads recently week put forward suggestions for university education in Cornwall are supporting a campus at Trereife.

Penwith College principal, Richard Andruszko and Truro College principal Jonathan Burnett were in favour of the campus.

Bill Hill, of St Austell College was not contactable and Dr Alan Stanhopeof Cornwall College said he was not in a position to comment on the Exeter University initiative.

Penwith's Mr Andruszko said this week that he and the governors of Penwith College had always been in support of Exeter University's proposal for a campus.

"I agree with arguments presented by Sir Geoffrey Holland and his team, of the advantages of a purpose built landmark project and the associated benefits it would bring to Penwith and the county.

"I also believe there will be considerable benefits for Penwith College and its students in having a higher education institution as a close neighbour. At the same time I do not see Exeter University's proposal and the idea being put forward by other establishments, for example, Plymouth University, as being necessarily mutually exclusive."

Mr Andruszko feels that there has been some misinterpretation of a statement issued recently by the heads of the four further education colleges in Cornwall.

"As principals, we are agreed that the case for a university in Cornwall is proven. In our joint letter, we state we believe that the whole debate should be moved forward by bringing together interested parties, so that the form of university provision can be agreed and co-ordination established, to avoid wasteful competition.

"What our letter purposely omits is any mention of what each college individually considers to be the best solution."

But this week, Jonathan Burnett, principal of Truro College told The Cornishman that he too supported Exeter University's plans for a single campus at Trereife, but also felt that existing higher education colleges throughout the county could be developed.

"I have personally made no secret of my support for Exeter University's initiative," he said.

"Few other prospects in Cornwall could have such a positive economic affect on West Cornwall and the county as the building of a university at Penzance. As far as I am concerned there is no conflict between this initiative and the idea to develop higher education provision."

But Dr Alan Stanhope of Cornwall College said that he did not really want to comment on whether he supported a single university campus at Penzance or not.

"I believe our board has put together a more intellectual proposal for the future of university education in Cornwall, which is more broadbased than Exeter's plan," he said.

"The document we put together "Towards a University in Cornwall" which highlights our proposals has been extremely well received by the Government Office and we understand that moves are afoot to explore our ideas further."

Dr Stanhope said that he did not wish to comment on Exeter University's project as it was not his place to speak on someone else's idea.

Sir Geoffrey Holland, who started the initiative for a university at Trereife was not available for comment this week.

But Penwith College's Mr Andruszko, in stating his backing for a campus at Trereife, conceded said that other colleges may have a different view.

"Indeed, Cornwall College have recently published a paper presenting the situation as they see it. This is their document and, as far as I am aware, no other college was involved in its preparation.

"However, the point of our joint letter is that although we may have differing perspectives on the matter, we each acknowledge the importance of all stake-holders now sitting down to discuss and agree what is the best solution for Cornwall.

"I was also taken aback by the suggestion that the FE colleges were only acting in self interest and that our involvement in the debate on higher education was in some way inappropriate.

"In its recent Green Paper on Lifelong Learning, the Government has set a target of some 500,000 additional students in further and higher education by 2002, and has clearly stated that it sees the growth of sub-degree courses, e.g. HND, mainly taking place in FE colleges. At Penwith College we already offer NVQ qualifications at the higher levels of 4 and 5, and our first HND should be available from next September.


"We, like the other colleges, are developing our provision to meet the Government's targets and to help people in the communities we serve acquire higher level skills, training and qualifications.

"The FE colleges will be key contributors to the development of higher education in Cornwall, and our provision would complement the degree and postgraduate work offered by a university.

"What we as principals are urging is that a university in Cornwall should be established as soon as possible," he added.

Copyright © Cornish Weekly Newspapers Ltd 1998

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