Proposals regarding the future shape of Welsh higher education (HE) were revealed by the Minister for Education and Skills, Leighton Andrews AM, this week. Calling on institutions to be strong, sustainable and successful, Mr Andrews commented on the recommendations made by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) in July. \"The need for fundamental change and reconfiguration of the HE system in Wales has been acknowledged for many years,\" the Minister said. \"We identified it in our overarching HE policy For Our Future when we called for radical change in the shape, structure and provision of Higher Education in Wales.\" Considering the issues raised by the HEFCW recommendations, Mr Andrews accepted that both Cardiff and Swansea University should maintain the development of their research and collaboration. The Minister supported the HEFCW advice that the University of Glamorgan, Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of Wales, Newport should all merge. The HEFCW presented a persuasive case for the merger, Mr Andrews said. However, while the Minister has the power to force through the merger, it is not clear whether Cardiff University is in favour of the move, the BBC reported. The National Union of Students (NUS) in Wales has said that the merger will not help the situation. \"While the details are being thrashed out between institutions, we warn against losing sight of what is fundamentality important - the individual students that will be affected by these proposals,\" NUS Wales President Luke Young told the news provider. Under the proposals, Aberystwyth Bangor universities will also continue to improve their strategic alliance, though a formal merger is not currently in the pipeline. The merger of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Swansea Metropolitan University will go ahead as planned, but the Welsh government also seek their merger with the much-maligned University of Wales. The Welsh Assembly is committed to fewer, stronger universities which are more sustainable and better equipped to meet learners\' needs as well as those of the Welsh economy, Mr Andrews said.