Saturday 16 December 2017

Third level needs funding and staff to cope with 'tsunami' of students

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Tom Boland

Graduates from Irish higher education institutions are highly regarded. Not just by those of us in the system who see the enormous contribution that they make in so many ways, but also by employers. In the National Survey on Employers' Attitudes to Irish Graduates published last week, there was strong satisfaction expressed by business at both the workplace and personal attributes of recent graduates.

This is all the more impressive given that these graduates were educated at a time of unprecedented reduction in the resources available for their courses.

Over the last five years, higher education student numbers have increased by 25,000 while staff numbers have dropped by over 2,000 - a 15pc increase in student numbers along with a 12pc drop in staff numbers. Core expenditure on each student is down by 15pc while there has been a deterioration in the staff/student ratio from 1:15 to 1:19.5 (the OECD average is 1:16).

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