The NPC's Welsh Subcommittee, Pwyllgor Cenedlaethol Ôl-Raddedigion Cymru - National Postgraduate Committee Wales, finally held its inaugural meeting in the Graduate Centre of University of Wales, Cardiff on Saturday 16 March. Delegates were present from Bangor and Cardiff, and apologies were received from Lampeter, Swansea and several other students' unions across Wales.
The meeting was very productive, and it was agreed that another one-day meeting should be held on a Saturday in May or June, hopefully with a larger attendance!
We elected two officers - David Manning (firstname.lastname@example.org) as Chair and Ian Hibble (email@example.com) as Vice-Chair. The position of Treasurer was left vacant - David Manning will assume the role pro tem.
It was agreed PCÔ-R Cymru - NPC Wales should pursue a number of issues, including:
- Assembly Learning Grants. The Assembly's draft proposals exclude postgraduates from these, which we felt could increase still further the hardship experienced by postgraduates in Wales - especially those with childcare reponsibilities. We decided to submit a document on this matter to the Assembly's Higher Education division, and also to submit a petition to the Assembly if at all possible.
- The Rees Report - one year on. June 2002 will mark the Rees Report's first anniversary; however, the majority of recommendations relating to postgraduates seem not to have been acted on, including student loan eligibility and access to benefits during the writing up period of research study. We agreed a document should be submitted to the Minister, asking what progress there has been.
- AHRB Postgraduate Review. It was agreed that the NPC's submission to this review should highlight the lack of guaranteed support by AHRB for postgraduate study in Welsh, Welsh Literature and Celtic Studies. At present, proposals in these disciplines have to compete with the whole range of Modern Languages (other than English) and Linguistics; given that HEFCW funds AHRB we felt it was reasonable for AHRB to do more for postgraduate students in Welsh-specific disciplines.
- PCÔ-R Cymru - NPC Wales publicity and communications. It was agreed to try and produce a bulletin/newsletter in time to advertise the next meeting. There should also be a dedicated section of the website for PCÔ-R Cymru - NPC Wales, and a jiscmail email list. An awareness-raising poster for PCÔ-R Cymru - NPC Wales should be produced and circulated.
- Bilingualism. All meeting agendas and minutes will be produced in Welsh and English; where possible, Wales-specific documents on the website will be available in both Welsh and English. The bulletin/newsletter and poster will be bilingual. In principle our meetings should be bilingual, though in practice there are logistical problems in terms of access to simultaneous translation.
- Recruiting new affiliates. The NPC has relatively few affiliates in Wales; this needs to change. Hopefully the advent of PCÔ-R Cymru - NPC Wales will encourage all unions to affiliate to the NPC, either for the end of 2001/2002 or from the beginning of the 2002/2003 academic year.
Full minutes of the meeting will be available in due course. As soon as the date and venue of the next meeting is known, this will be publicised.
If you have any queries about PCÔ-R Cymru - NPC Wales, contact either one of the officers or the NPC General Secretary.