independent

Friday 20 September 2019

TUI blow to South East University plan

Waterford Institute of Technology.
Waterford Institute of Technology.

By David Looby

Plans for the new South East Technological University (SETU) have been dealt a blow after the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) branches in the Institute of Technology Carlow and the Waterford Institute of Technology issued a strong riposte to plans for a forced merger involving both institutes.

At a conference this week union officers and members expressed their concerns about the current plan being pursued by the government.

Concern was expressed about the continuing uncertainty relating to the academic vision and mission of a technological university and the imposed requirement for a merger of institutes before they apply for technological university status.

The lack of sufficient financial resources made available for the establishment of the proposed technological universities was also highlighted in the context of funding cuts already imposed in recent years. Of particular concern was the recent HEA claim that mergers need to be funded by means of even deeper 'efficiencies' within already overstretched institutes.

Officers from both branches expressed dismay at the lack of focus on academic considerations, noting that the only concrete proposals so far relate to the distribution of management posts.

The branches have requested a meeting with the Minister's appointed consultation consultant Mr Kelly to express their concerns on this process to date. The branches consider forced mergers of institutes could be avoided if a structure similar to the National University of Ireland was put in place for a technological university sector.

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