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“Grey philistines taking over our universities” Irish Times, May 1, TOM GARVIN

May 1, 2010 1 comment

This article by Professor Garvin is particularly relevant in the context of current (Jan 2011) attempts by Irish university authorities to restrict academic freedom and to undermine tenure under Croke Park Deal–Paddy Healy

Since the recent takeover of many universities by State authorities and commercially minded presidents with narrow intellectual outlooks, the pressure to engage in applied, intellectually derivative but profitable research at the expense of blue-sky inquiry has intensified. Intellectual derivativeness is a symptom of provincialism.

Ireland has this problem in an intense form. Researchers are being required by bureaucrats to specify what they are going to discover before the money to do the research is made available. Picasso’s comment is appropriate: “If I knew what I was going to do, what would be the point of doing it?” (more)

SIPTU Academic Staff NUIG : Motion on The General Public Services Agreement (The ‘Croke park Proposals’) 

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Whereas the Government is trying to shift even more of the burden of the financial crisis on to the backs of working families through the public sector pay agreement with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and in so doing will undermine educational standards and ensure further bail-outs for bankers and developers;

Whereas our members would be required, under threat of compulsory redundancy, to accept further pay-cuts and review of our contract, to meet impossible and inappropriate ‘productivity’ targets, to be re-deployed, to undertake even longer working hours, to further increase already heavy staff workloads with resulting inability to properly do our jobs while adding risks to health and family life;

Whereas students will, as a result of this agreement, face cuts to services, higher class sizes, lower standards of teaching, greater stress, less support and other resources in all aspects of their academic careers, all of which will undermine the quality of, and likelihood of getting, their degrees;

Whereas this agreement ignores the effects on many sectors of people facing this economic crisis: people who are unemployed and others on low incomes facing cuts to welfare, wages and public services; children and adults with disabilities, the sick and pensioners targeted by cuts to health care and care services; mothers trying to cope with cuts to child benefit and other devastating cutbacks which make it even harder to feed, clothe and care for children; homeless people facing cuts to support and crisis housing;

Whereas this agreement has been rejected by our colleagues on the executive of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, delegates of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland and the Association of Secondary School Teachers of Ireland along with a number of other union executives all of whom are trying to protect not only their own members but the education and other services they provide to all our communities;

Therefore; –

The members of the SIPTU academic section oppose the public sector pay and benefit cuts masquerading as a deal and instruct the section committee together with the branch secretary to make known our opposition by sending this resolution to our colleagues in other sections, other branches and the media.

University Agenda Revealed! “Colleges told: merge or die”, Indo 29th April

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Colleges told: merge or die
Major shake-up ahead for third-level system, Irish Independent, Thursday 29th April

Tom Boland has signalled that huge changes are on the way

By John Walshe Education Editor

Thursday April 29 2010

IRELAND has too many universities and colleges that must now merge to survive, the head of the State’s third-level funding body has warned.

In a landmark address yesterday, Higher Education Authority (HEA) chief executive Tom Boland set out a reform agenda for the biggest ever shake-up of the country’s third-level system.

The proposals are certain to form a key component of a new national strategy currently being prepared for the Government.

The strategy will recommend merging colleges and courses, sources said last night.

The Irish Independent has also learned that the strategy group is also considering the provision of new employment contracts; ending a number of programmes and courses; and more effective monitoring of academic staff. (more)

Respect for the stakeholders in the higher education sector will be reciprocated, IFUT General Secretary tells Minister Coughlan

April 28, 2010 Leave a comment

General Secretary of IFUT, Mike Jennings, speaks at Annual Delegate Conference,
A little respect for the stakeholders in the higher education sector and the avoidance of ’stunts’ and ‘cheap fixes’ will go a long way and will be reciprocated, the General Secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, Mike Jennings, told newly-appointed Minister for Education, Mary Coughlan, at the 2010 IFUT Annual Delegate Conference today (Saturday, 24 April 2010).

“If there are issues in higher education that Minister Coughlan is concerned about and does not understand, she should come to us”, said the General Secretary. “Who is better able to speak knowledgeably about an issue such as Grade Inflation: the people who work in the system, or the CEOs of two multi-national companies?” (more on IFUT web page)

Europe’s most efficient system of university education is being ruined, IFUT President tells 2010 Annual Conference

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment

The Irish University system has always had to struggle and was never properly funded, even during the years of the Celtic Tiger, the President of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, Hugh Gibbons, said in his address to the 2010 IFUT Annual Delegate Conference today (Saturday, 24 April 2010). Now the Irish University system is being ruined by the Government embargo and moratorium on appointments, the blocks on promotion and cuts in institutions’ core grants.” (more…) From IFUT website..

Categories: Education, Universities Tags: ,

Employment Control Framework Seriously Damages Careers of Female Lecturers and Researchers, IFUT ADC 24th April

April 25, 2010 Leave a comment

The following two motions were passed at the Annual Delegate Congress of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, held yesterday

They deal with the “the serious damage being done predominantly to
the careers of female lecturing and research staff”
by the application of the moratorium on staffing in the area of third level education.

In the Public Service Agreement, ICTU negotiators explicitly accepted the moratorium. No safeguards were inserted to protect those vulnerable to unequal treatment.

There are examples of such unequal treatment elsewhere in the public service

National Public Service Alliance would welcome details of such abuses

In addition Science Foundation Irealand (SFI) has cancelled the special allowance (eligible leave supplement) used to pay substitutes for professional research staff on maternity leave.

While 50% of SFI professional research Staff are women only 11% have reached the higher grade of Principal Investigator (PI).


(1)Damage to Careers of Female Lecturing & Research Staff

This ADC strongly rejects the continuing policy of non replacement of
staff on maternity leave, adoptive leave and sick leave as well as the retraction
of SFI’s eligible leave supplement for same. We call strongly for the
government to recognise the serious damage being done predominantly to
the careers of female lecturing and research staff.

(2) Substitute Cover for Maternity Leave

ADC demands that the substitute cover for maternity leave is made statutory for the Irish university sector thus allowing women participate on an equal basis as men within this sector.

IFUT and Unite reject the PSA for university staff.

April 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Executive committee of IFUT have unanimously recommended rejection of the public services agreement in a ballot. Crucially it has also decided, like TUI, not to be bound by any decision of Public Services Committee (ICTU) on the matter.

“While recognising that there are some positives in the proposed agreement, the offer of a blank cheque for the renegotiation of staff contracts, with fundamental and far reaching implications for educational standards, is simply not acceptable,” IFUT General Secretary, Mike Jennings stated.

The Executive of IFUT also decided that the conditions of employment of its members will not be subject to aggregated vote by other unions on the proposed agreement and reserved the right to make whatever decisions are necessary if members’ jobs and conditions are put in jeopardy.

Unite which represents staff at University of Limerick has also recommended rejection of Agreement