College cuts hit lectures, labs and tutorials
THIRD-level students are losing out on tuition because of the education cutbacks, it was claimed last night.
Some students are losing out on lectures and tutorial time while laboratory work is also being whittled away, the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) said.
The TUI represents 3,500 lecturers in institutes of technology. They say that while student numbers are rising, staffing levels have been allowed to drop significantly. There has been a raft of early retirements among lecturers, because of uncertainty over future pension provision, many of whom were not being replaced because of the moratorium on recruitment.
This has led to gaps in timetables and disruption of some courses, TUI assistant general secretary John MacGabhann said. "Further staffing reductions could lead to a cessation of certain modules and a severe diminution of service," he said.
Mr MacGabhann said the pressure on staffing was coming at a time when demand for third-level education was increasing at an unprecedentedly rapid rate, from both school-leavers and the unemployed. "As a direct result of cutbacks, the time period to deliver modules has in many cases been cut, which obviously means less exposure to lectures for students," he said.
"Tutorial provision has been particularly savaged, with an inevitable diminution of the crucial thinking and problem solving elements of studies traditionally provided."
Mr MacGabhann said, practical and workshop activities have also been decimated