Monday 20 May 2019

Students in institutes of technology may face cut in lecture hours over academics' workload row

TUI president Joanne Irwin Photo: Steve Humphreys
TUI president Joanne Irwin Photo: Steve Humphreys
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Students in institutes of technology may be facing a cut in lecturing hours from September in a row over workload for academics.

About 4,000 lecturers are currently being balloted on industrial action,  and a “yes” vote could result  in disruption in the next academic year.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) said increasing demands on academic staff is causing significant levels of work-related stress and damaging the service to students.

TUI president Joanne Irwin said a promised review on the use of an extra productivity hour introduced during the financial crisis had not been completed.

She said the deadline set for completion of  the review was March 2017, but a year later they were still waiting.

Ms Irwin said  the institute of technology sector had suffered devastating cuts to funding, and the time academic staff could provide to students had come under immense pressure.

She said each hour of lecturing requiring a multiple of hours for the associated preparation, reflection, assessment and feedback.

On top of what was already an “excessive” workload she said  lecturers were required to give an additional two lecturing hours, known as “flex” hours. In 2016, agreement was reached on the use of one of those hours and the second was  to be subject to a review.

“Two years on, despite the consistent availability of TUI, this review has not been completed and re-designation of the second flex hour has not taken effect,” she said.

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