Archive for 7 November 2010

Mown down by state and police, the students showed the rest of us what democracy is

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“Just before 30,000 young people took to the streets in the largest student protest of their generation, my flatmate, also a student, hung a banner out the window. It read ‘We Write The Future’. We all write the future, but none more so than a generation who have largely been ignored …” (more)

[Una Mullally, Sunday Tribune, 7 November]

Images of Gary Redmond at FEE protest emerge

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“… Gary Redmond himself has taken part in sit-down protests, including the one shown here, called by, and organised by Free Education for Everyone. The images in this post are from a FEE blockade in UCD (supported by UCDSU) at the arrival of Brian Lenihan in 2008 …” (more)

[Indymedia Ireland, 7 November]

Public sector pay bill to drop €700m as huge numbers opt for retirement

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“Retirements from the public service are running so far ahead of target that the Department of Finance believes it will be able to cut around €700m a year off the public-service pay bill without cutting pay or offering staff a HSE-style exit package …” (more)

[Martin Frawley, Sunday Tribune, 7 November]

Red Dawn on Merion Row

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“If I was to sum up in one word the events which unfolded outside the Department of Finance last Wednesday I would have to say confusion. I for one had arrived quickly on the scene and witnessed the majority of the sit-in and the forced removal and violence by An Gardaí Shiochana …” (more)

[The Student Observer, 7 November]

Cash-strapped colleges offer web contract worth €120,000

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“They may be facing unprecedented budgetary pressures at a time when the government is preparing to increases student fees, prompting tens of thousands of students to take to the street in protest last week. But this has not stopped the country’s Institutes of Technology (IOTs) and the Grangegorman-bound Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) advertising a valuable PR and communications contract …” (more)

[John Downes, Sunday Tribune, 7 November]

Could you cope with a €250 bill for college?

Posted in Fees and access with tags on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“Let’s say you have four children – aged 2, 4, 6 and 7. You plan to send them all to college when they reach 18 years of age. Well, good luck. It now costs about €42,000 to send a child to college for four years …” (more)

[Independent, 7 November]

Student march can be showcase or ‘no-case’ for USI

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“As perhaps the most outspoken critic of student marches on Cork Student News to date, I thought I’d take it on myself to question whether or not the Union of Students in Ireland is really worth its weight in salt at all …” (more)

[Greg O’Donovan, Cork Student News, 7 November]

Scrap tuition fees? Yes we have

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“Liberal Democrats in government are about to scrap student tuition fees for 54.2% of students. This may come as a surprise, but that is because this side of the story isn’t really being told …” (more)

[John Hemming, Guardian, 7 November]

Students invite USI President Gary Redmond to demonstration against brutality

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“Lorcan Myles, spokesperson for the Free Education for Everyone campaign, today extended an invitation to Gary Redmond to attend a demonstration next Wednesday evening against the police brutality seen last week …” (more)

[Indymedia Ireland, 7 November]

Reducing public-sector pay is not an option

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“The suggestion that the average public-sector wage should be reduced to the average of all workers, put forward in your issue of 31 October, undermined whatever credibility the feature in question had …” (more)

[Proinnsias Breathnach, Sunday Tribune, 7 November]

The charge of the not-so-light brigade

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“Students who had their heads bloodied at the anti-fees protest last Wednesday shouldn’t take it personally. The tactics used by gardai seem to represent a government statement of intent, addressed to the general public …” (more)

[Gene Kerrigan, Independent, 7 November]

Fine Gael – ‘Reinventing Government’

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 7 November 2010 by Steve

I haven’t had a chance to look at this report in detail yet, but the most important section so far as universities are concerned appears to be the following (pp38-39):

“Consistent with the priorities set out in their Departmental Strategy Statements, Ministers will sign – in public – Public Service Agreements with service delivery bodies (such as universities, the Gardai, the HSE), specifying the activities, outputs and long-term outcomes that the Government will promise to the Oireachtas in return for money from the taxpayer. These Public Service Agreements will:
• Put emphasis on the intended impacts of programmes for the public;
• Provide quantitative targets and ‘baseline’ data to enable changes in performance to be assessed over time; and
• Provide good explanations to link agencies’ activities with changing outcomes for the population.
The quality of Public Service Agreements will be audited by the new Office of Public Spending and Modernisation.”

What this means may depend on what else is intended – in other words, are these new Public Service Agreeements to be the main control of universities, or are they to be added to existing controls?  This is not addressed directly, though one rather vague proposal (below) hints at fewer controls.

Other proposals of interest to the HE sector are:

“We will set a salary cap of €200,000 across politics and the public sector.” (p15)

“As has happened in Australia, we will create, out of a merger and rationalisation of existing structures, a new ‘one-stop shop’ Payments and Entitlements Service (PES) to process citizen entitlements, beginning with: [8 grant schemes including] Higher education grants administered by local authorities.” (p56)

“To support training, we re-allocate money from FÁS and the National Training Fund into Training Vouchers that will empower the unemployed to define and acquire their own training and re-skilling needs from VECs, Institutes of Technology and other education and training providers.” (p73)

“We will re-allocate money from the National Science and Innovation Strategy to double the maximum value of innovation vouchers for small and medium sized enterprises to €10,000. This will help small businesses to shape the research agenda of universities and other knowledge providers in a way that makes them more relevant to the commercial challenges facing Irish businesses.” (p74)

“We will devolve authority to universities, and ultimately to Institutes of Technology, over investment, staffing, pay and other employment conditions.” (p78)

“Merge the Higher Education Authority into the Department [of Education and Skills] (research funding to go to SFI)” (p83)

Fine Gael to ‘Reinvent Government’

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“Fine Gael, this morning has unveiled its public sector reform policy. The policy which is the brainchild of Richard Bruton promises to abolish 145 state bodies along with the HSE. The policy plans to save an impressive €5 billion through confronting duplication and waste within our public service …” (more)

[Scandalcentral’s Blog, 7 November]

Joint university founded in Istanbul

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“Germany and Turkey have founded a new university in Istanbul. The Deutsch-Türkische Universität (DTU) is to focus on engineering sciences and engage in intensive cooperation with industry, but will also be providing a platform for cultural exchange …” (more)

[Michael Gardner, University World News, 7 November]

Thousands of university staff facing redundancy

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“Funding cuts of more than £150 million for Scottish universities next year will lead to thousands of job losses, cuts in courses and lasting damage to the sector’s international reputation, higher education leaders have said …” (more)

[Andrew Denholm, Herald, 4 October]

Alarming fall in Chinese student numbers

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“For the first time in more than 14 years, an Australian minister for tertiary education has gone to China to try to head off a potentially disastrous collapse in the number of young Chinese studying in Australia …” (more)

[Geoff Maslen, University World News, 7 November]

Spinning the protest

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“As readers of this blog know, last Wednesday there was a student protest march in Dublin, at the close of which there was an outbreak of violence as a small group of protestors attempted to occupy the Department of Finance building, from which they were ejected by Gardai …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 7 November]

Public don’t believe €15bn cuts will be made by 2014

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“The Irish people are deeply sceptical the Government can meet its self-proclaimed target of €15bn in cuts by 2014 and most of the electorate say the deadline should be extended …” (more)

[Jerome Reilly, Independent, 7 November]

Ease the pain of meeting your child’s college fees

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“It could cost more than your mortgage to send the kids to college. How can parents ever hope to meet the costs, asks Louise McBride …” (more)

[Independent, 7 November]

Paul Gogarty TD labels Dept of Finance protesters as ‘muppets’, supports Gardai

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , , on 7 November 2010 by Steve

“On Twitter, Green Party TD Paul Gogarty has branded those involved in the protest outside the Department of Finance as ‘muppets’, while supporting the actions of the Gardai …” (more)

[Edufactory Ireland, 6 November]