More public and employer funding needed in higher education

IMPACT organiser Joe O’Connor

IMPACT’s Education division conference in Cork has endorsed a motion reaffirming the union’s commitment to seeking gradual increases in state investment for higher education.

Conference has also recommended that employers be asked to make a greater contribution to funding in the sector and has recommended against the introduction of a student loan scheme.

Speaking to the motion, Joe O’Connor, IMPACT lead organiser and former president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), said “we’ve kicked the can down the road on funding higher education for a long time, and now we’ve run out of road.”

“We need to look beyond seeing higher education as public expenditure, to seeing it as investment in our future. We see higher education as a public good which enriches our society and drives our economy” he said.

He added that “student loans are bad for access to education, bad for personal debt, and bad for our public finances. Employers benefit hugely from Ireland’s higher education system. It’s only right that they contribute their fair share.”

At €3,000 annually, Irish third level fees are the  second highest in Europe, after the UK. Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland all offer publicly funded education

IMPACT has 10,000 members in education, including in Institutes of Technology and in National Education and Training Boards.

IMPACT is part of the coalition for publicly funded higher education.