IFUT welcomes the unequivocal call in the National Strategy for Irish Higher Education (“The Hunt Report”) for a substantial increase in funding for Higher Education.
IFUT is also very pleased to see throughout the Report repeated acknowledgements of the current quality and high international reputation of Irish higher education. According to IFUT General Secretary, Mike Jennings, “the statement in the Report that Irish higher education enjoys first place internationally for graduate employability and is placed second of 28 countries surveyed for graduate quality is particularly noteworthy”.
The Report says quite starkly that “the current system is delivering above-average outcomes at below-average funding levels”. The Report’s commitment to Quality Assurance is also welcome.
However, despite these welcome statements and the inclusion of a number of very welcome recommendations, IFUT’s overall assessment of the Report is that it is disappointing, often confused and, in general, a missed opportunity. The Report lacks a sense of authority and credibility. It often reads like a document compiled by people who do not understand the Irish higher education system and how it works.
The Report is uninspiring. It singularly lacks any specific indicators of how any of its recommendations might be implemented against the opposition of vested interests. With a change of government in prospect, it seems that Colin Hunt and his team may well have created one of our all-time most expensive dust accumulators.
The IFUT Media Release is available in full here.