Lecturers experience high levels of work-related stress
Lecturers in institutes of technology are experiencing high levels of work-related stress as a result of cutbacks, additional working hours and rationalisation measures in the sector, according to the Teachers' Union of Ireland(TUI).
One of the main causes is the impact of the so-called "flex hours" - two additional hours lecturing given per week by members for the duration of the Haddington Road Agreement on public service productivity and pay, the union says.
According to TUI general secretary, John MacGabhann, the delivery of these two hours of lecturing requires an additional six hours to include subject/curriculum development, research, preparation work and the development of assessment of examinations material.
Mr MacGabhann was commenting on findings of a recent TUI survey among lecturing staff in the institutes.
Another major source of concern is a "lack of consultation" on changes happening in the sector, he said.
"These findings come at a time when some colleges are seeking to merge with others in the move towards technological universities despite the strong opposition of lecturers. There has been a severe lack of consultation in many cases," he said.
Mr MacGabhann said larger class sizes, arising from increased enrolments, are also raising stress levels, because of the significantly increased workload in terms of continuous assessment, feedback, advice and pastoral support.