Lecturers still opposed to Waterford/Carlow merger

Minister for Education Jan O'Sullivan, who continues to support the Waterford/Carlow IT merger.

Minister for Education Jan O'Sullivan, who continues to support the Waterford/Carlow IT merger.

Lecturers say they are unconvinced by the academic rationale for the proposed merger between WIT and IT Carlow.

Last week, representatives of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) met with Michael Kelly, who was assigned by the Minister for Education to consult with stakeholders regarding the South East Technological University (SETU) proposal.

The TUI, which represents over 600 academic and research staff in both institutes, said it was concerned about the risk that a forced merger would have on staffing levels, conditions, resources and services.

Afterwards, members of both branches said they remain opposed to the requirement which forces institutes to merge before they apply for technological university status. “Both branches believe that the requirement to merge is more about rationalisation of services rather than the enhancement of academic and research practice”, a spokesperson said.

“This was made clear by the Higher Education Authority stating that there will be no additional funding available and institutes will have to fund mergers by means of increased efficiencies. This will result in the institutes having to reduce the range of programmes offered and will also result in cuts to services and decreased investment in resources and infrastructure.”

The union has now called on Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan to remove the merger requirement from the draft legislation and allow institutes to make individual applications for technological university status.

This process could be facilitated by means of a national technological university structure for Ireland, the spokesperson said, which would enable scale and collaborations between institutes, whilst at the same time allowing them to ‘maintain their unique regional identity and academic autonomy’.

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