The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) has called on the Fine Gael and Labour to announce proposals to address the mounting crisis in third-level education.
Commenting following new data which shows applications for third-level places have reached an all-time high and the warning from IBEC last week that higher education is ‘in the midst of a funding crisis,’ IFUT General Secretary, Mike Jennings, said that the two parties of government should spell out clearly a commitment to reverse the funding policies that threaten to bring third-level education to its knees.
“In particular they must explain why investment in third-level education continues to be cut, despite the turn around in the economy and the surge in student numbers.
“The Central Applications Office has confirmed that almost 70,000 students, the highest ever number, have applied to attend third-level next year. Can the government reassure these young people that their very future is not being jeopardised as a result of decisions on their watch?
“Funding per student at third-level has fallen below that of second level for the first time ever in recent years. Any incoming government must reverse policies that saw funding to universities slashed by 26% and to other colleges by 24% between 2007 and 2014.
“Staff numbers declined by 4,500 from 2008 to 2013, while student number rose by 16%.
“It is noteworthy that IBEC’s Chief Executive, Danny McCoy, in identifying infrastructure pressures across the economy, cited higher education as the first example.
“There is now clearly a widespread consensus across different sectors of society and the economy that the crisis in Irish third level-education can no longer be ignored,” Mike Jennings said.
For further information on this media release please contact:
John Gallagher, John Gallagher Consulting Tel. 087 9369888
Mike Jennings, General Secretary, IFUT Tel. 087 6776747.