Spending on third level education in Ireland fell by over 20% between 2003 and 2012, according to a new CSO report.
Measuring Ireland’s Progress 2012 shows a drop in public spending per third level student from €10,539 to €8,417 (2012 price values), over a period when spending in primary and secondary education have risen markedly.
Spending peaked in 2007 at €11,078 and has fallen steadily since the banking crisis. Just before the current Fine Gael/Labour Government came into power, it stood at €9,898 for 2010, before being cut by €1,481 for each student.
The sharp decline in public investment in education at this level reflects the reality, familiar to most university staff, of massive pay cuts, increased class sizes, falling staff numbers and higher workloads, along with shrunken course offerings for students. At the same time, universities are shifting toward a for-profit model, with increasingly loud demands from business interests and politicians that the sector should serve industry and the economy.