A further €6.8 million in funding has been announced for the purpose of supporting the formation of a Technological University in Dublin, the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor announced last week.
The news follows a €4.4 million already announced by Minister for Education Richard Bruton in July of this year to enable the merging of the three I.T.’s in Dublin into a Technological University this January.
“In total we are announcing €11.2 million in funding this year to date which will support six significant restructuring projects on the higher education landscape,” Ms O’Connor said.
Originating in the Hunt Report of 2011, which proposed the introduction of Technological Universities as part of the Higher Education eco-system in Ireland, Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown, and Institute of Technology Tallaght will merge on January 1st 2019. It is set to become Ireland’s biggest university, spread across three campuses in Tallaght, Blanchardstown, and Grangegorman, with a student population of approximately 28,500.
The announcement follows a recent letter from the Higher Education Authority, to Mr Bruton, wherein concerns were raised about the level of funding currently available, citing international experience showing adequate funding is a key factor in the success of higher education mergers.
Following the July announcement, this brings the total funding within the year to €9.2 million for the merger. A further €2 million has been allocated to two other restructuring projects of the higher education landscape, specifically in initial teacher education.
Students of the Institutes have welcomed the decision. Lauren, a second-year Advertising and Marketing Communications student, says that the pros and cons of the merger must be considered:
“More courses will be available in all the ITs and it also gives us a higher level of recognition, now we’re considered a university, not just an Institute of Technology.”
However, she also raised concerns of extended commutes between campuses, particularly in light of the ongoing overhaul of the Dublin Bus system and increasing traffic congestion in Dublin City Centre.
By Alexander Barrett
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