Monday 18 December 2017

IT Sligo lecturers feeling pressure of funding cuts

Jessica Farry

IT Sligo lecturers want the Government to consider providing 'appropriate funding' as class sizes continue to grow while staff numbers have been cut.

Mairead McCann, Secretary of the TUI (Teachers' Union of Ireland) in Sligo, says resources are coming under pressure due to cuts.

"What we're trying to do is create an awareness of the continuing underfunding of higher education and particularly coming from a number of years of austerity cuts, reduced funding, and particularly in terms of reduction of staff," she told The Sligo Champion. "Lecturers are still very much feeling the pressure on the ground to try and deliver high quality courses to students.

"Over the recent years, with the downturn we've seen an increase of about 35% of students and at the same time we've seen staff reductions of nearly 10%.

"It's particularly a problem in Institutes of Technology where we're given broader access to higher education to a wide range of students, particularly in terms of trying to maintain cutting edge technology, access to resources, computer labs, that's coming under pressure as well as access to administrative supports in the college. We're trying to raise awareness in the lead up to the budget when decisions are being made."

Cuts, she says, mean that there is more pressure on lecturers, while some are working on zero hour contracts.

"One of the key things is there are fewer people to do more work so trying to provide access to student supports, feedback and to give additional tuition, larger group sizes, more pressure to do turnaround of information, growth in zero hours contracts and short-term employment so there's a turn over of short term employees which affects quality and development of courses."

With the budget coming up,the TUI want the government to provide funding for more employment.

"It's the funding but the funding in support of more employment because student numbers are growing and expanding so just as you see at primary and second level where there is a commitment to fund additional teachers, there really is a requirement to fund additional staff at third level as well."

The TUI also claim that academic staff suffer income poverty as a result of low hours and insecure employment.

Sligo Champion

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