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Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Education from Aberystwyth
Assembly graphic
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By Nick Dermody
BBC News Online

The terrace at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, has a commanding view over the town and out into Cardigan Bay.

The impressive vista is one of the attractions of the campus, which is a vital part of the economy of the town sited midway along the western coastline of Wales.

Like any university town in Wales, it can thank the Welsh Assembly for the re-introduction, albeit in a limited form, of student grants.

In February this year, the assembly announced that student grants - so-called Assembly Learning Grants - were to be in-introduced.

Catrin Jones
Catrin Jones: Wants the assembly to end student fees

It was a move which put pressure on the Westminster government to follow.

But despite all this, Catrin Jones, 20, believes the assembly should do more.

She said: "It has done well with grants, but it needs to go a step further with fees."

Catrin, a Welsh speaker from Cardiff, is studying International Politics and Welsh, which gives her an understanding of the role the assembly plays in helping Wales to claim its place in the European Union.

"It's important; without it, we would be a laughing stock," she said.

"I want to see it have more powers, but I know it's a gradual process."

They've come up with some kind of grant, but the problem is, it's a gesture

Student Gwion Evans

As a sabbatical officer for the National Union of Students, Gwion Evans, 21, sees first-hand the effects of the new assembly grants.

The Welsh speaker from Llandysul also believes the assembly should do more for Welsh students.

"It's half-and-half at the moment," he said. "They've come up with some kind of grant, but the problem is, it's a gesture.

"There is a need for primary legislation but, then, people also wonder if the politicians deserve that.

"It's important that we do have a civic identity. If it gets politics close to the people - as it does seem to be doing at the moment, - it's inevitable."

It seems the students here want the politicians at Cardiff Bay to have a vision of education in Wales as expansive as the one they can take in while just walking between lectures.

See also:

09 Feb 00 | Wales
Timeline: Welsh devolution
08 Apr 99 | The Welsh Assembly
Structure and powers of the assembly
02 May 02 | Wales
Stroll down Assembly Road
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