IFUT has joined forces with the Irish Universities Association and USI to issue a joint pre-Budget call on government to tackle chronic underfunding of third-level education. The statement also included THEA, representing Institutes of Technology and TUI which represents IoT lecturing staff.
In their joint statement issued on September 27th last the five bodies state: “We request an immediate move by Government to address the funding crisis in Budget 2019 or we risk an irreversible slide in the quality of our third-level system. They clearly know what the problem is; they need to start fixing it.”
IFUT General Secretary, Joan Donegan, said that “serious understaffing, overcrowded classrooms and an overall deterioration in studying conditions in higher education … is impacting negatively on lecturing staff and students alike.”
Jim Miley, Director General of IUA said: “The government has repeatedly stated that it wants to have ‘the best education system in Europe’. That cannot be delivered without a significant increase in investment in higher education.”
Síona Cahill, newly elected President of the USI said: “The system is underfunded and students face the burden - at €3,000 per annum, students are already paying the second highest fees in Europe.”
There is now a common recognition, from universities’ heads to lecturers to students, that higher education is creaking at the seams.
The government can no longer sit idly by while the 2016 Cassells Report continues to gather dust and the relevant Oireachtas Committee dithers on agreeing funding priorities.