IRELAND: New higher education rules 'a debacle'

New rules governing appointments in the higher education sector are a "debacle", a senior civil servant has claimed. In a scathing confidential assessment sent to senior education figures, Martin Shanagher, assistant secretary at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, says the moves will "penalise'' research activity, and were made without considering the full implications, reports Sean Flynn for the Irish Times.

The comments by Shanagher, who is a member of the group charged with implementing the recent Hunt report on higher education, come amid growing controversy about new Higher Education Authority controls, labelled as Stalinist by senior academics. He concludes: "Much needs to be learned about how to conduct our affairs".

The revised Employment Control Framework, issued by the previous government in its final days, gives the authority power to scrutinise and approve appointments. It applies not just to core staff but to all staff employed in higher education, whether their posts are funded by the exchequer or not. Any posts created or any renewal or renegotiation of existing contracts for non-core staff will be subject to an employer's pension contribution charge of 20% of gross pay to protect the state from future pension liabilities.
Full report on the Irish Times site