As almost 124,000 Leaving and Junior Certificate students get ready to sit exams tomorrow (Wednesday), the Irish Universities Association is calling on the Government to set out a sustainable funding model to prepare for these and future generations of aspiring third level applicants. The numbers of students commencing exams are in the vanguard of a highly significant demographic bulge which will have a material impact on the funding per student at Ireland’s seven universities in the years ahead.
According to the Government commissioned Cassells Report, the number of students completing second level will peak in 2029 when it is projected to be 27% higher than 2015. This huge uplift in student numbers represents the equivalent of needing another one a half UCDs to cater for the inevitable demand in third level education.
We can see this growth replicated in the numbers attending university as stated in the recently published Indecon report on the impact assessment of Irish Universities, which stated that there has been a 50% increase in Irish university enrolments since the year 2000 and growing.
Speaking about the demographic bulge and its impact on universities, Jim Miley, Director General of the Irish Universities Association said: “With the number of students completing second level expected to peak in 2029 when it is projected to be 27% higher than 2015, the majority of these students will want to continue in education—either in further education or higher education. Places simply must be provided for these young people.”
He continued: “The changing needs of the labour market will also demand an increase in life-long learning, part-time and more flexible higher education, which is still not sufficiently supported in the present system. I’m calling on the Government today to implement a sustainable core funding model so that current and future students can continue to avail of the opportunities a university education brings. If a sustainable core funding model is not delivered by Government, tens of thousands of today’s primary school pupils could be dis-enfranchised in years to come”.
The Indecon report can be found in full here – https://saveourspark.ie/universities-impact/
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