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University report highlights crisis with Irish third level education system – Crowe

6 October, 2011 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s education spokesperson Seán Crowe has described as a 'very worrying trend’ the findings contained in TheTimes Higher Education World University Rankings which show an alarming drop in the global rankings of Irish universities.

The worldwide study relies on expert input from more than 50 leading figures in the sector from 15 countries across every continent and has created a high standard in international university performance comparisons.

Deputy Crowe said:

“The rankings are based on 13 indicators gathered independently and for the first time ever, not one Irish third level college is featured within the top 100 in the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Trinity College is down 41 places to 117, while the slump for UCD is even worse - down 65 places to 159.The report is very worrying and highlights deeply rooted problems within our higher education system.

"Its conclusions are similar to those contained in QS World University study that also showed a slippage in the ranking of nearly all of our third level institutions.

“The criteria used in the study included the teaching and learning environment; research volume; income and reputation; citations; research influence; industry income; innovation and international outlook.

“Part of the problem is that in order to make up the funding shortfall, we have increased class sizes in nearly all of our universities and colleges. This has implications for the delivery of courses and tutors have less time to spend on individual students.

“We are continually told that in order to attract high tech industry and well-paid jobs we need a world class university system that is able to produce highly skilled graduates. This cannot happen without adequate investment and unless there is a radical overhaul of the current system.

“Many of these reforms, including closer links between funding and the delivery of key targets, need to be prioritised by the HEA if we are to address continuing slide down the rankings list.”

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