IT Tralee’s TUI Lecturers To Protest at North Campus This Week

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THIS Wednesday lecturers who are members of the Teaching Union of Ireland (TUI) will protest outside the North Campus of IT Tralee this Wednesday lunchtime from 1pm to 2pm.

They TUI say they are holding the protest to highlight ongoing lack of funding of the sector.

Protest will take place at the 14 Institutes of Technologies (IoTs) across the country while representatives will also protest outside the offices of the Higher Education Authority and Leinster House in Dublin.

They say the underfunding has continued through 2017 despite a financial review of IoTs in 2016 showing that 10 out of 14 Institutes were running annual deficits and that the sector required an immediate injection of funding.

A statement from the TUI in Tralee said since 2008 public funding to IoTs nationally has been cut by 35%, while lecturing staff have been reduced by 9.5% and student numbers have increased by 32%.

During this time student contributions have increased with Irish students now paying an annual €3000 student contribution fee to attend a third level college or university.

They say the lack of funding has resulted in a lack of investment in essential equipment, maintenance, supports and lecturing staff. Like many other IoTs, Tralee has been meeting its annual deficits in budget by using its reserves.

Also like other Institutes, Tralee is running low on revenue reserves and last year the college had to submit a three year plan to show the Higher Education Authority (HEA) how it would return to producing a surplus.

One of the first measures introduced was a 5% reduction in academic staff this September with a further 5% planned over the next three years.

IT Tralee TUI branch submitted an emergency motion to the TUI congress in April this year calling on the union to undertake a campaign to oppose the ongoing cuts and to demand increased funding of the sector.

Chair of the Tralee branch Ursula Barrett said “lecturing staff of the Institute are standing up for the colleagues who have lost jobs due to cuts, for the students who deserve to receive an education with up to date equipment and quality supports and for the community who we link with to provide services”.

The Union of Students in Ireland is also planning to protest against cuts to public funding of third level education and Tralee students union will be attending a national protest march in Dublin on October 4th.

The students will be out supporting staff for the local protest this Wednesday as both staff and students want to bring attention to this issue locally as well as nationally.

According to Ursula Barrett; “The Institute is an important asset to the county and unless it receives the funding necessary to deliver a quality education to its students its future is in serious jeopardy, the HEA needs to stop delaying action with reports and reviews and start reinvesting in the education of our students”.

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