Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Times Are Tough, Say Majority of Irish Academics

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Times Are Tough, Say Majority of Irish Academics

Article excerpt

Nearly three-quarters of academics in the Republic of Ireland say that working conditions have deteriorated in the wake of mass job cuts and rising student numbers, a study states.

Higher education funding shrank by 29 per cent between 2007 and 2014, but student numbers have risen by 16 per cent over the same period, according to the report, Creating a Supportive Working Environment for Academics in Higher Education, published on 22 June.

Since 2007, staffing levels have been reduced by 17 per cent, or 3,500 posts. Academics report growing levels of stress caused by excessive teaching loads, says the study, commissioned by Ireland's two teaching trade unions.

Seventy-two per cent of almost 1,200 university staff surveyed for the report - about 1 in 20 Irish academics - say that conditions are worse than in 2007 when Ireland was plunged into a financial crisis and public expenditure was cut by e7.8 billion (£5.5 billion) a year.

"We have a lot more students and we have a lot fewer staff and so we have...[a] much higher teaching workload and much higher administration workloads," says one academic interviewed for the study. …

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