Third-level departments at 'crisis point'
Seven years of education cuts have reduced some departments in third-level colleges to "crisis point", according to a new analysis.
While staff and colleges have worked to minimise the impact of cuts on students, "it is very clear that this commitment and resilience is not sustainable in the long term".
The findings are based a sample of quality reviews of the workings of 90 academic departments, schools or education programmes, conducted by external experts. Such reviews are routinely commissioned by higher education institutions.
The report was prepared by Quality and Qualifications Ireland - the agency responsible for quality assurance of further and higher education and training.
Chief executive Padraig Walsh said that, while it was hard to define quality in higher education, the report analysed comments in relation to perceived reduction in equality of teaching and learning in peer reviews published between 2008-2105. This was a period when funding was cut by 14pc and student numbers rose by 25pc.
While an occasional reference to the impact of limited resources on the quality of teaching and learning is not unusual, the number and nature of such references across a large number of reviews was deemed "significant".