UCDSU officer calls for investment in education

Image Credit: UCD

A lack of investment in third-level education has led to a drop in respect for Irish degrees worldwide, according to UCDSU’s Education Officer.

Underfunding from last year’s budget is the cause of a drop in world university rankings for Irish institutions. According to Robert Sweeney of UCD’s Student Union, it’s a worrying trend that needs to be reversed with further investment.

“Everybody is saying Irish third level education is in decline,” he said.

Sweeney said Irish third level education needs investment, noting that the government committed €100 million to education spending in their brief last year and only put in €36.5 million.

“We’ve seen an increase in the student-lecturer ratio, which has led to Irish universities falling in the world rankings, and there could be a lack of recognition for Irish university degrees worldwide” said Sweeney.

READ MORE: Political Parties announce their desires for third level education

This year’s rankings, as supplied by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), showed the biggest changes in position applied to Maynooth University and DCU.

DCU fell 11 positions to 391st place, while Maynooth fell into the 701-750 category from the 651-700 category.

Trinity College saw the biggest increase, moving up to 88th after nearly falling out of the top 100 the previous year, while UCD and NUI Galway showed some small positional shuffling.

Sweeney also noted that an increase in student assistance grants, especially for postgraduate students, is necessary.

“With the current level of funding, [postgraduate students] are not able to cover their own living expenses,” said Sweeney.

“We also need to see an increase in the threshold for SUSI, so many fell just short of the threshold at the minute, which puts massive strain on students.”

Alex Dunne

Image Credit: UCD