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Third Level Workload-Reply to Prof. Von Prondzynsky and Sean Flynn

December 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Letter published in Irish Times Friday, Dec 31
Push to increase teaching load
Madam, – Your Education Correspondent, Seán Flynn (Home News, December 29th) referred to a message I sent to colleagues in institutes of technology recently. He also quoted Prof Von Prondzynski, who is not from our sector, as saying that holidays in institutes of technology were “hard to defend”. In addition, Mr Flynn refers to a current annual workload of 560 hours per year. The Department of Education is attempting to enforce an annual teaching load of a minimum of 560 hours per year in addition to the additional hour per week stipulated in the Croke Park deal. Workload is a different matter.

The workload of lecturers at third level involves both teaching and scholarship. Scholarship includes inter alia research, creative writing and maintenance of world-class practical skills in a rapidly changing world.

Some commentators take no account of the number of post- graduate students supervised, the amount of research and scholarship carried out, the number of publications produced, the weight of course direction and co-ordination undertaken, or the course reviews completed (not to mention lecture preparation and task correction).

Under the Croke Park deal the management side is demanding that the teaching load be increased to 20 plus one hours per week for lecturers and 22 plus one hours for assistant lecturers. A survey commissioned by TUI some years ago concluded that the current 16/18 hour lecturing load was equivalent to a 50-54 hour working week of teaching and related duties alone. It is extremely difficult to conduct the degree of scholarship appropriate to a third-level institution in the context of such a teaching load.

Currently many lecturers struggle on with scholarly activity during term time and then put on a big push during the holidays. Any agreement to reduce the vacation period would lead to an extension of teaching into the holiday period by the authorities.

The attempt by institutes and Government to reduce vacation periods in addition to imposing the biggest teaching load in Western Europe on lecturing staff cannot fail to damage the institutes and literally make the adequate performance of full academic duties impossible.

It is clear that government wishes to effectively reduce the institutes to teaching-only institutions.

The development of institutes of technology has been a hugely successful initiative in Irish education. Could the Government that oversaw the destruction of the banks be allowed to seriously damage third-level education also? – Yours, etc,

PADDY HEALY, 086-4183732
Griffith Court,
Fairview,
Dublin 3.

OECD report endorses teachers’ work

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland today criticised the failure of government to invest meaningfully in education during the boom years after an OECD survey showed the country languishing in the relegation zone in a league table of investment in education.

The report also highlights that Irish teachers work considerably more hours than their European counterparts while the ratio of students to teachers is also higher than the European average. more.

Categories: Education, IOT, TUI, Universities

Funding higher education (via Ninth Level Ireland)

August 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Continued push on the fees agenda..

Funding higher education "The cabinet will shortly consider a report from an expert group, chaired by economist, Dr Colin Hunt, on a strategy for higher education. The report has been billed by successive ministers for education as a critically important document, charting a course for the sector until 2030 …" (more) [Irish Times, 28 August] … Read More

via Ninth Level Ireland

Categories: Education, IOT, Universities Tags: ,

Registration Fees to increase by 1000 euro?

August 24, 2010 Leave a comment

USI president Gary Redmond said the union was “gravely concerned” that third-level fees would be reintroduced “covertly” by increasing the existing €1,500 cap on the student services charge. (more from the Irish Times).

Third-level colleges urged to forge closer links-Irish Times

August 24, 2010 Leave a comment

ANALYSIS: The Hunt Report calls for increased funding – but colleges are asked to be more efficient too, writes SEÁN FLYNN , Education Editor

THE LONG-AWAITED Hunt Report runs to over 200 pages and provides a comprehensive overview of the third-level system.

There is no Big Idea at its core and little that will surprise. The report draws freely – and sometimes at length – on earlier reports on higher education and the skills deficit. Its key finding – that a “persistently” underfunded system requires major additional supports – is an echo of the 2004 OECD report on higher education in Ireland. This also backed a quantum leap in funding and the return of student contribution through fees or loans. But it has never been implemented. (more)

Over 1,000 college jobs may go in cuts (via Ninth Level Ireland)

Over 1,000 college jobs may go in cuts "More than 1,100 jobs in colleges will be lost by the end of this year because of Government cuts. New Higher Education Authority (HEA) figures reveal the full scale of job losses since the Employment Control Framework began in December 2008 …" (more) [Seán Flynn, Irish Times, 15 July] … Read More

via Ninth Level Ireland

Cuts putting ‘unsustainable’ pressure on universities (via Ninth Level Ireland)

Cuts putting 'unsustainable' pressure on universities “Severe cuts in university funding, at a time when the sector faces record student demand, is placing ‘unsustainable pressures’ on colleges, the new president of Dublin City University warned yesterday. Prof Brian MacCraith said while increased commercial activities and philanthropy would help, the cutbacks in exchequer funding would continue to take their toll …” (more) [Seán Flynn, Irish Times, 14 July] … Read More

via Ninth Level Ireland