Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has said that the proposal being considered by Trinity College to reduce the places available for Irish based students by a quarter over the next 5 years is a cause for concern, and reflects the underfunding of the third level sector.
Speaking this morning, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;
“I note with concern the proposal being considered by Trinity of reducing the numbers of students coming through the CAO system by 25% over the next couple of years.
“While I recognize it is a proposal at the minute in the context of drafting a 5 year strategic, i would urge trinity to reconsider this, and Government to consider what role it has.
“I and others including the USI, and the IUA have repeatedly expressed concern about the impact of underfunding would have on access to third level education. This is evidence of these concerns coming to fruition. If this is followed through less students will have access to trinity and the points for many courses will sky rocket.
“If sustained and significant investment in third level education does not happen, then this will be replicated elsewhere, and more and more students will have the door shut to third level shut on them.
“The issue at play for most colleges is that they are chronically underfunded, and that higher education in this state requires substantial investment.
“Access to education is already an issue for many, and a reduction in the number of college places will only impact future generations.
“I have also expressed concern at the sustainability and increasing reliance on international students as a source of revenue, and that this is a source of income that may not always be as available as international competition to attract students becomes more significant.
“Trinity are citing student teacher ratios as being the reason this needs to happen, but surely an increase in lecturers would address that issue? Again this comes down to resources and underfunding, Government is failing to act on the stark warnings contained in the cassells report
“I believe this would set a worrying precedent, and is something the management at Trinity needs to reconsider”.
“I would urge to Minister for Education to take note of this, and how Trinity have ended up in this position and reach out to the relevant people in the college, and discuss what he can do to assist them.”