A strategy to increase higher education funding has been proposed by the Labour Party, as well as plans to reduce the cost of both secondary and third-level education.
The proposed funding, which will be used to support both teaching and research within higher education institutions, is built on the recommendations of the Cassells report from 2016.
To fund this, Labour are considering using money from within the National Training Fund as well as other unnamed sources. The manifesto doesn’t specify how much funding Labour would provide, however.
For the total budget on education, Labour intends to increase spending by 140 million, with a particular focus on making primary education completely free and ending the two-tier pay system for teachers and school secretaries.
Third level fees are also on the agenda for Brendan Howlin’s party, with Labour proposing a reduction of 500 euro, reducing fees to 2500 euro per student in 2021. According to their manifesto, this would cost 13 million in the first year.
Another key proposal by Labour are their plans to support the development of new and existing technological universities (TU). The plan, which focuses on creating a new TU in the south-east of Ireland, as well as helping Dundalk Institute of Technology reach TU status.
Hazel Gavigan, the chairperson of Labour Youth branch in DCU said: “I think they’re [TU’s] vital”.
The SUSI grant is also planned to be looked at, with a plan to increase the payments to reflect the increased cost of living across Ireland. The increase, which is 10 per cent, would cost 6m in the first year but 18m in a full year.
Labour have also proposed reducing the non-adjacent rates of the SUSI grant, moving it from 45km to 24km. The adjacency rate is based on the distance from a student’s normal residence to their college or university. According to the manifesto, this would cost 9m in the first year, but 26m in a full year.
The party has also promised to introduce a rent freeze if they enter into government, as well as capping rents until the housing crisis has ended.
Image Credit: Labour