IRELAND: Universities told courses and jobs at risk

University presidents in Ireland are being told to brace themselves for unprecedented cuts which could force them to cut staff and cancel courses, writes Sean Flynn for The Irish Times. In a confidential letter to the seven presidents, the chief executive of the Higher Education Authority, Tom Boland, said he was alerting all colleges to take "whatever action is needed" to prepare for the next academic year.

Boland advised colleges to budget on the basis that there may be further staff reductions in 2011. He also said the colleges could expect "further reductions in core allocations" and no increase in student charges. It is clear, he wrote, that "overall recurrent funding will be reduced and this is likely to require reductions in pay and non-pay across the sector."

The university sector is already struggling to cope with a huge surge in student numbers, as record numbers of school leavers and mature learners opt for college. Several colleges are also struggling to reduce accumulated debts totalling over EUR20 million across the sector.
Full report on The Irish Times site