Government to Undertake Review of Higher Education, as Funding Debate Continues

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on July 25th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“After years of underinvestment and rising student numbers, the government will carry out a review of the quality of Ireland’s higher education system. The review comes as Irish colleges await a decision on a new funding model for the sector …” (more)

[Dominic McGrath, University Times, 25 July]

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Pipers, Tunes and Payment in the Higher Education Sector

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on July 24th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Recent discussion on university funding has been on the basis of the Public Accounts Committee report. This, along with the RTÉ Prime-time Investigates program, has led to a perception of a state funded sector out of financial control. Both of these are wrong …” (more)

[Brian M Lucey, 24 July]

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Government’s Kowtowing to Employers in Response to Education Levy Sets a Risible Precedent

Posted in Governance and administration on July 17th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“This week, the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, reaffirmed that his department is still strongly considering marginally – and gradually – increasing the rate at which employers must pay into the National Training Fund, with a view to using the proceeds to increase funding to higher education. But why is it that he feels the need to kowtow to the sector as a result? …” (more)

[University Times, 16 July]

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Amid Talk of Increased Levy, Government Promises Employers Greater Impact on Education Policy

Posted in Governance and administration on July 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The government has sought to address employer concerns about an increase in the contributions employers pay to higher education, offering them greater input into future decisions on the training and education in Ireland …” (more)

[Dominic McGrath and Eleanor O’Mahony, University Times, 14 July]

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UCD Income Increases, Despite Drop in State Funding

Posted in Governance and administration on July 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“UCD has released its financial statements for the 2015/2016 year. The statements reveal that despite a decrease of state funding, UCD experienced an increased overall income of 3.1% in the 2015/2016 academic year. State grants for UCD decreased by 2.3% from the previous academic year …” (more)

[Ruth Murphy, University Observer, 14 July]

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Colleges to face heavy penalties for misusing public funds

Posted in Governance and administration on July 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Third-level colleges are set to face heavy financial penalties for serious breaches such as unauthorised payments for staff, filing late accounts or giving misleading reports of governance issues. The move follows a series of controversies over the misuse of taxpayers’ money and allegations of mismanagement within the sector …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 14 July]

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Employers to get greater say on education policy

Posted in Governance and administration on July 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Employers are to be given a greater say in shaping the type of education and training that is delivered over the coming years, in exchange for increases in payroll taxes. Earlier this year, Minister for Education Richard Bruton announced a proposal to raise an additional €200 million for the sector through increases in employers’ PRSI to the national training fund …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 14 July]

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Education fees and system a barrier for families says Labour Senator

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on July 11th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Government has been urged to take the idea of student loans off the table. A report published last year found that there was a funding gap of €5.5bn over the next 15 years in third level education. The Cassels report made a number of recommendations including a deferred payment scheme for students …” (more)

[BreakingNews.ie, 11 July]

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Students Call On Senators To Reject Loans Scheme In Favour Of Public Investment In Education

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on July 10th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Union of Students in Ireland (USI) today called on Senators to support a Labour private members motion this Wednesday, rejecting any move to implement an income-contingent loan scheme but instead to publicly invest in third level education …” (more)

[Daniel Waugh, Union of Students in Ireland, 10 July]

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Third Level Charges: Student Contribution Charge

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on July 1st, 2017 by steve

IrelandRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Solidarity): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will reduce the student contribution charge in third level education; his views on an organisation’s (details supplied) call for the charge to be reduced by a minimum of €250; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 29 June]

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Third Level Funding

Posted in Governance and administration on June 23rd, 2017 by steve

IrelandThomas Byrne (Meath East, Fianna Fail): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the €600 million base funding requirement in higher education institutions by 2021 identified by the Cassells report includes the €124 million that has been set aside from the calculation of the fiscal space for demographic increases in third level in 2018 and 2019 …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 20 June]

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Wary of Loans, but not Progressive Enough for State Funded, Varadkar Might Leave Education in Limbo

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on June 19th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“First came the hope, then the headaches. Even the weathered trade unionists and opposition politicians allowed themselves some optimism this week when Leo Varadkar announced the creation of a new ministerial position with responsibility for higher education. The ensuing furore over the creation of a new super junior ministry, however, has suggested some of this optimism might be misplaced …” (more)

[University Times, 18 June]

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Bruton has Listened and Learned from Universities and Students. Now he Must Act

Posted in Governance and administration on June 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Enda Kenny stood beside Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, in a primary school last July, discussing lighthouse keepers. Their job, he said, was to guide ships away from dangerous rocks and safely into harbours. This, in a nutshell, will be Bruton’s job now that he’s been reappointed to the Department of Education and Skills …” (more)

[Dominic McGrath, University Times, 15 June]

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Universities and Students are Facing a Perfect Storm of the Government’s Making

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on June 12th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“It was not just candour, when the President of University College Dublin (UCD), Andrew Deeks, suggested the college might have to place a cap on Irish student places. Instead, it was the latest move in the long drawn-out game our universities are being forced to play with the Irish government – a government who seem unaware they are involved in any sort of gamble with our futures …” (more)

[University Times, 11 June]

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Trinity’s rise in the rankings a good start, but funding and internal reform still needed

Posted in Governance and administration on June 10th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The recent rise of college in the QS rankings should be commended, as rankings matter. However, it does not alleviate the need for increased higher education funding …” (more)

[Rory O’Sullivan, Trinity News, 9 June]

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Universities’ funds for new staff eaten by State salary rises

Posted in Governance and administration on June 9th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“More than half of the money universities got this year to employ extra staff to deal with rising student numbers was absorbed by the Government decision to bring forward the €1,000 pay rise in the public service to April. The university sector received about €7m in the Budget specifically to cater for growing enrolments as part of the first additional State investment in higher education in a decade …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 9 June]

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Trinity’s Rankings Rise Must Not Obscure the Challenges Facing Irish Universities

Posted in Governance and administration on June 8th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Yesterday’s announcement that Trinity has moved up 10 places to 88th in the QS World University Rankings should certainly be welcomed. After years of continuous decline, the reversal of this longstanding trend is a significant step for Trinity, and other Irish universities, in regaining their strong standing on the international stage …” (more)

[Simon Foy, University Times, 8 June]

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Hostages, at last

Posted in Governance and administration on June 8th, 2017 by steve

IrelandHugh Brady, until recently President of UCD, famously summed it up: universities can’t bargain well with government, because they have no hostages, nothing to threaten government with. And we have seen the results over the last decade. University autonomy has increasingly been treated as a tired technicality with no real substance to it. We have also seen massively reduced funding, huge growth in governmental controls, and significant public criticism premised on the assumption that what universities spend is ‘public money’.

But less and less of it is public money these days. Less than half of university income today comes from public funds, and the trend is steadily downwards. And the structural inability of the current government to take hard decisions pretty much guarantees that nothing much will change in the near future. Absent some remarkable change both in Ireland’s economic fortunes and in official attitudes, the public element in university funding will rapidly approach relative insignificance, while the government attempts to pull the strings that come with it ever tighter.

Hence UCD’s recent announcement. Other Irish universities are not quite at this stage yet, but most are not far off.  This gives universities a greater freedom to manoeuvre and to bargain than they have had for a very long time. The DES has made it clear by its actions that it is not much bothered by crumbling university facilities or by appalling staff:student ratios.  But it will begin to worry as universities openly muse that the limited funding they receive from government is not worth the burden of state regulation that now comes with it, or that it is simply not the universities’ job to keep large swathes of Irish youth out of the dole queue – especially those who need (and deserve) something quite different from what the universities have to offer. Least of all does the DES want the most successful universities to start arguing that they should be private institutions.  But to avoid that, it must offer the universities something better. It must start to bargain at last.

The Blogmeister

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UCD warns it may cut number of places available to Irish students

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 8th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“University College Dublin has warned it may have to reduce the number of places available for Irish students if it does not get more funds. There is no threat to the intake for this year, but UCD president Professor Andrew Deeks has sent a clear signal that patience is running thin on the issue of sorting out the financing of higher education …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 8 June]

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Employers resist Government moves to force them to pay more for education

Posted in Governance and administration on June 2nd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Employers are resisting Government plans to oblige them to contribute more to higher education through increases in a payroll levy. Earlier this year, Minister for Education Richard Bruton announced a proposal to raise an additional €200 million for the sector through increases in employer’s PRSI to the national training fund …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 31 May]

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