IFUT support and encourages its members and other professionals in the Higher Education sector to sign the TUI's petition:
From the Petition Website:
Sign the I Value Higher Education petition and get involved.
Support free access to public higher education.
Halt the erosion of the Irish publicly funded higher education system and safeguard higher education for the next generation. The I Value Higher Education campaign invites students and their families and all workers to sign this petition. Additionally, you can promote the I Value Higher Education campaign through your social media network.
Volunteers can also get involved in the campaign by organising local meetings with friends, social groups and work groups to discuss higher education. I Value Higher Education will assist in providing material and, where possible, speakers to attend meetings.
The campaign has three main aims:
- The promotion of free, public higher education.
- The promotion of quality higher education.
- The promotion of resourced higher education.
I Value Higher Education campaign
I Value Higher Education seeks to promote the value of higher education in Irish society. The campaign acknowledges higher education as a central function within the social, cultural and economic fabrics of Irish society.
recognises the contribution already made to the economic growth and social development of this country through the provision of publicly-funded higher education
promotes free higher education as a public good
calls for equality of access to higher education opportunities and the provision of clear progression routes to enable lifelong learning.
advocates for the resourcing of a high quality higher education infrastructure which can best meet contemporary national and international challenges and demands.
Cuts to funding, reduced staff levels and increased student demand
The I Value Higher Education campaign recognises the valuable social and economic benefits arising from state funding of higher education. Today, the Irish state funds 14 institutes of technology, seven universities and six colleges. While the public higher education sector has expanded to meet growing demand, funding has not kept pace with this development. Regrettably, it has decreased significantly. In the last seven years funding in the higher education sector was cut by 32% (over €428.3m). The magnitude of the funding cut over a relatively short period of time is having a profound impact on the sector’s capacity to function. In addition to the budget cuts, student tuition fees for undergraduate programmes have increased to €3,000 per year. Currently, policy developers are exploring the option of introducing a student loan scheme which could bring the annual student fee up to €12,000 a year. Such a loan scheme would place a significant individualised debt on each student when they graduate and commence their careers. The demand for places in the higher education sector has grown considerably, with an increase in student numbers of up 20% between 2008 and 2014. Presently, there are just over 200,000 students attending higher education programs (undergraduate and post-graduate). At the same time, staffing levels have been reduced by 2,000 between 2008 and 2015. The funding cuts, rising student numbers and reduced staffing levels are pushing the higher education system to a crisis point. The established quality and standards of our publicly funded higher education system are being put at risk. If the current crisis prevails much longer, irreparable damage may be done.
Irish general election
As the general election approaches, the I Value Higher Education campaign invites people to raise higher education as an issue with candidates when they canvass. If enough people commit to the value of higher education, the funding of free public higher education and quality higher education, then we can achieve a positive outcome to our just campaign.