Institute of Technology, Sligo notes the publication of the Higher Education Authority’s Financial Review of the IoT sector.
The higher education sector is underfunded. The system is creaking, yet IT Sligo has, to date, managed to remain financially sound. This is due to years of prudent financial management, making good decisions about new programmes and by adapting and evolving to meet the needs of the 21st century workplace.
One key illustration of this is the Institute’s position as the recognised leader in the provision of online education in Ireland.
However, IT Sligo recognises that the IoT sector has faced, and continues to face significant financial challenges. There is not enough money coming through to the IoT sector.
Since 2008: There has been a fall in state grants for higher education of 34%. Overall funding for Higher Education has fallen by 13.5%. The overall number of full-time students has increased by 24%.
All the future economic-growth projections are based on export-orientated industries and businesses and the skills base that is needed to supply that. While Institutions like IT Sligo have worked hard to address that skill base through the provision of online learning, entrepreneurship supports for start-ups and SMEs, and rolling out new innovations such as Ireland’s first honours degree apprenticeship in Insurance Practice, the IoT sector as a whole cannot wait for the predicted bulge in student numbers across the Primary and Secondary school sector to prompt an increase in funding. The sector needs the money now so that it can be ready to give the best possible education to the growing student population in higher education.
IT Sligo believes that the additional funding that the sector needs must not come in a way that acts as a barrier to those students least able to afford to pay for higher education.
IT Sligo continues to produce high calibre graduates with the relevant skills that are tailored for the 21st century marketplace. It is a champion of access – making higher education accessible to students from a broad demographic range.
A significant proportion of IT Sligo students are first generation third level students. They come from families with no tradition in accessing higher education.
Government intervention is required to help the Institute of Technology sector ensure it can continue to provide the best possible education to both its current and future students.