Funding cuts put third-level sector under pressure

The Higher Education Authority has concluded a series of performance agreements with each of the state’s universities, institutes of technology and other third-level colleges. Under these ‘compacts’, each college is required to set out its plans for the future, and how it intends to differentiate itself from other higher education institutions, writes Carl O’Brien for The Irish Times.

For the first time, institutions have set specific goals in areas such as access for disadvantaged groups, drop-out rates, the quality of teaching and learning, and research and internationalisation.
Up to 10% of the authority’s funding can be withheld if these targets are not met.

After seven years of spending cuts, rising student numbers and falling numbers of academic staff, many in the sector say it is under pressure as never before. State funding for universities has been cut by about half since the economic crisis. A drop in the number of academics is affecting their ability to provide high-quality education and qualifications.
Full report on The Irish Times site