Third Level Education (Industrial Report) - Ireland - October 2011
The third-level education sector in Ireland has been undergoing a period of intense fluctuation over the past five years, due to the introduction of “top-up” fees in NI, the continuing effects of the recession, and the associated financial and socio-economic effects of the economic downturn since that time. Further uncertainty exists for 2012 onwards, with fees and funding a major concern in RoI, and a predicted large-scale growth in applications to NI institutions from home students.
With finances a significant concern for students across Ireland (combined with cuts in funding and available places at institutions), many students are likely to be priced out of the education market. This is in contrast to the objectives of both NI and RoI governments, who continue to take steps to widen participation for disadvantaged students. In this competitive market environment, institutions must compete to prove their worth, demonstrating that a third-level education will provide students with a return on investment, and a real value in the employment marketplace.
Some questions answered in the report include:
- What fees and funding issues are students and institutions facing, particularly in light of new governments in both the UK and RoI? – Do students struggle to find funding? How will new fees affect NI and RoI university numbers?
- What are the key factors affecting entry to Irish institutions? – Are universities becoming more selective? What impact does the diminishing job market have on consumers applying to third level education?
- How is access to third-level education being made available to underrepresented groups? – What initiatives are being taken to boost third level education among those from less privileged backgrounds?
- Have certain subjects been affected by the drive for career-specific qualifications? – What are the key areas for students?
- How are Irish third-level institutions performing compared to other education providers? – Are there key strengths and weaknesses in provision?
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