Ireland’s seven universities have launched a major campaign aimed at encouraging the public to demand that the Government tackles the funding crisis in third level education.
State funding per third level student in Ireland at €5,000 is barely half of what it was a decade ago and a fraction of what it is in other similar-sized European countries. Budget 2019 last week, while providing a small funding increase, did not address the underlying gap in funding.
Two years of inaction
The Irish Universities Association (IUA) developed the Save Our Spark campaign following more than two years of inaction after the publication of the Cassells Report in which meaningful funding reform for higher education was recommended by a Government-appointed expert group.
The Save Our Spark campaign seeks to raise awareness of the crisis and encourage members of the public to sign a petition urging their local TD or Senator to act now.
A series of adverts have run on national and regional radio stations. The ad has also appeared in trains and buses and the Dart across Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway, as well as at all seven university campuses. A short video, which was specially created to highlight the crisis, has been promoted across YouTube and key social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Risk a serious drop in quality
Launching the Save Our Spark campaign, Jim Miley, Director General of the IUA said: “If the higher education crisis is not addressed by Government urgently, then we risk a serious drop in quality or a shortfall in places for students in the future.
“For the first time ever, all seven Irish universities are coming together to demand urgent action on the funding crisis, as we need substantial investment to accommodate the many extra students that are expected to enter the system over the next decade.”