Fianna Fáil Deputy for Mayo Lisa Chambers has expressed her concern at a recent review carried out by the Higher Education Authority, published by The Irish Times, which found that six institutes of technology are “vulnerable” and face immediate sustainability challenges with the GMIT being one of them.
Speaking on the matter Deputy Chambers said: “This report is deeply concerning and the problems facing our institutes of technology [IoTs] must be tackled immediately. I raised my concerns for the GMIT with the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, back in July and he expressed to me that the HEA has a policy framework in place for engaging with vulnerable IoTs like GMIT, which requires institutes to submit a three year plan to return them to a balanced budget situation.
“He then informed me that the GMIT had presented the HEA with their three year plan and that in fact it showed a gradual decreasing of the deficit in 2015/16 and 2016/17 with a return to surplus projected in 2017/18. However this report for the HEA seems to contradict what the Minister told me back in July, as it puts the GMIT as the most vulnerable of all the IoTs and also states that the HEA should consider if these campuses are viable or whether increased funding should be made available to keep them running,” she said.
Deputy Chambers continued: “This attitude is deeply worrying as we should be aiming to ensure that every IoT in the country is kept up and running to the best of their abilities because they are crucial to the education system in this country. The access they provide to higher education for large cohorts of the population is extremely valuable to Irish society.
“I am calling on the Minister and An Taoiseach to secure the future of IoTs in this country and in particular GMIT. This report finds that ‘radical action’ is needed if the sector is to grow over the coming years and it’s a report that can most certainly not be ignored. We need to act fast and ensure the future of the education system in this country as it is detrimental to our society if we do not do so.”