John Hennessy: many in government “short-term in their thinking”. Photograph: David Sleator

Outgoing chairman of Higher Education Authority says funding urgently required

Royal Irish Academy report says that since 2008, the third-level sector has seen a “severe divestment of its funding base”. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Royal Irish Academy criticial of effects of funding cuts over past seven years

John Hennessy: “Growth at third-level will be phenomenal between now and 2030 given the demographics of the country”

Outgoing chairman of Higher Education Authority says country faces urgent decisions over funding third-level

Some 4,000 lecturers are staging a one-day strike at Ireland’s 14 institutes of technology. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

TUI move follows mounting concern over ‘crisis level’ cuts to funding, staff numbers

Despite the introduction of “free fees” two decades ago, a student registration fee has climbed to €3,000 a year. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA

Party also pledges to reduce pupil-teacher ratios at primary and post-primary level

Some academics fret that the digitisation of information means research skills are being lost. Photograph: Thinkstock

From real-time tracking systems that enable parents to follow their children’s progress in school to plagiarism alerts in universi(...)

Experts say points increases are likely this year in range of high-demand courses, particularly in growth sectors such as science, technology and business

Points increases in some courses likely due to record number of applications

The OECD report shows that about one in five Irish university graduates can manage basic literacy and numeracy tasks but struggle with more complex tasks.   File photograph: Chris Ison/PA Wire

One in five Irish graduates has no more than basic grasp of language and numeracy

UCD is not alone in offering “literacy clinics” for struggling students. Photograph: Eric Luke

Experts concerned over less academic students being pushed into college

Trinity College Dublin. File photograph: Frank Miller

Students’ union initiative follows similar moves in Oxford and Cambridge universities

Parents of children with special needs have been urged to contact schools well in advance of the new school year to ensure they have a chance to adapt buildings, apply for additional supports or seek additional training for teachers. Photograph: Thinkstock

Parents urged to contact schools early to ensure they have chance to prepare properly

The Coalition plan is in response to a shortage of skilled workers in key areas. Photograph: PA

Variety of measures under consideration, one of which is older school-leaving age

Students march against reduction in grants. The TUI said the Minister had been advised that mergers were a costly process and that institutes of technology would have to bear the bulk of fees. Photograph:

Merger expenses to top €45m, according to data submitted to Department of Education

Eight out of 10 primary school principals believe less time should be spent on teaching religion in the classroom, a new survey shows. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters.

Primary survey shows 90% want more time for focusing on maths and English

There will be 19 painter/decorators, seven plasterers and 26 brick and stonelayers qualified in 2019. File photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Only seven applications were made last year to train as a plasterer, figures show

The overall number of applicants is set to climb above 80,000 for the first time since the CAO system was established almost 40 years ago. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Increases expected in growth sectors such as science, technology and business

Secondary school students witness a live Caesarean section as part of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland’s transition year programme. Photograph: Maxwell Photography

Dozens of transition year pupils witness a C-section beamed live from the Rotunda as part of a programme to give students a very r(...)

Louise O’Keeffe: has strongly criticised the scope of the  compensation scheme, saying  the small number of cases processed so far was a sign of the State’s narrow interpretation of the law. Photograph: Garrett White/Collins Court

Louise O’Keeffe accuses State of trying to minimise its legal responsibilities

Greg Foley: “In our desire to improve the education of students, maybe we’ve gone too far and are afraid to demand more of our students.” Photograph: Aidan Crawley

A new breed of protective parents are clearing a path for their children

A report by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection says the role of an SNA is frequently misinterpreted and increasingly involves additional responsibilities. File photograph: Getty Images

SNA duties need to be regularly communicated to parents and teachers, says committee

Attendance rates for lectures at third-level are falling as students increasingly opt to rely on notes posted online by their lecturers, an Oireachtas committee has heard. File photograph: Getty Images/Wavebreak Media

Attendance rates for third-level lectures are falling due to online notes, committee hears

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan says she will cut the €3,000 student contribution fee by €500. Photograph: Eric Luke

If Labour returns to government Minister says reduction will come into force next year

Prof Frank Murray, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and chairman of Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland said:“Our children deserve to be supported and should be protected in school from the alcohol industry.” Photograph: Fergal Phillips.

Minister asks schools to ignore teaching resources from alcohol industry

Amy Looney with second-class pupils, from left: Amelia Ziembra (7), Kamile Kisieliute (7), Haliyat Giwa (7), Dylan Keogh (7), Julien Bell Baho (8), and Adam Al Jabar (8) at Citywest and Saggart Community National School. Photograph: Eric Luke

With 96% of schools under religious control, community national schools say they offer a way around the ‘baptism barrier’

Minster of State for Business and Employment Ged Nash:  planning to bring proposals on reform of contracts to Cabinet shortly. Photograph: Dave Meehan

HSE and Department of Education fear labour market proposals could add to costs

Global college: The costs of moving abroad are not as high as some  might think. If students qualify for an Irish maintenance grant, they  can take it with them to an EU university

University fees are minimal or even non-existent in many European countries

Gerry Quinn, TUI president. Members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland working at third level  are due to stage a one-day strike on Wednesday, February 3rd, as part of a campaign to highlight underfunding of the sector. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Industrial action on February 3rd part of campaign over underfunding of sector

Dylan Bowe, Diarmaid Gallagher, Aoife Keegan and Orla Fallon of Magh Éne, Bundoran, Co Donegal, holding up white boards to show their knowledge of the subject. Photograph: James Connolly

Donegal school has become one of the top-ranking in Ireland after ditching focus on ‘chalk and talk’, moving to Canadian student-l(...)

On Monday The Irish Times disclosed that up to 80 per cent of students in maths-related courses are failing to progress beyond their first-year in college. File photograph: Getty Images

As many as 80% of students in some courses failing to progress beyond first year

In general, university courses tend to have the highest retention rates. Photograph: The Irish Times

Irish Times figures show numbers failing to progress beyond first-year in each course

Some students entered courses with misplaced conceptions about the content and found the course either too difficult or that they had little interest in the subject matter. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien.

Lack of maths blamed for non-progression rates in computer science and engineering

Academics have warned that students at third level are increasingly unable to cope with courses that require maths  competence and require support to pass exams. Photograph: The Irish Times

Up to 80% of students in some courses are failing to progress to second year

After coming to close to dropping out of college, Patrick Guiney went on to set up a charity to support students heading to third-level education. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Patrick Guiney set up charity to give students first-hand insight into Stem courses

The spectacle of infighting at the 18,000-member ASTI further exposes divisions within it, in particular between full-time staff and elected officers. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Complaint includes failure of ASTI to tackle allegation of sexual impropriety

Lynn Ruane, president of Trinity College Dublin students’ union, with her daughters Jordanne (15) and Jaelynn (8). Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Education opens doors for Seanad candidate from Tallaght local authority estate

 Bernie  Marron told the Equality Tribunal she was looking for an acknowledgment that what had happened to her was wrong and sought no financial compensation.

Bernie Marron says principal made critical comments about her son’s sexual orientation

The institutions include  Dundalk IT, Waterford IT, Letterkenny IT and Galway Mayo IT – as well as the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Dundalk IT, Waterford IT, Letterkenny IT, Galway Mayo IT and NCAD are in difficulty

State funding for universities has been cut by about half since the economic crisis. Photograph: The Irish Times

New targets agreed with the Higher Education Authority include greater student diversity

Why are the reforms so important? In a sense, the future of second-level education reform may well hang in the balance. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Education: The issue of reform dominated 2015, yet changes will affect a minority of schools

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan has called for new laws to ensure school places for unbaptised children. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

O’Sullivan wants denominational schools to set aside places for non-Christian children

 Jan O’Sullivan, Minister for Education: she believes the solution may lie in the amending of Section 7.3 (c) of the Equal Status Act which allows schools to discriminate on the basis of religion in admission. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

The campaign to ensure unbaptised children’s access to schools is on the up

A report to be finalised in January has examined the option of increasing a levy on employers, given that businesses benefit significantly from skilled graduates. Photograph: Getty Images

If findings in report implemented, a rise in training levy could generate up to €100m

Thousands of children from poorer areas are not able to access school meals programme

A Government plan to be published on Wednesday aims to increase the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds at third level.

Some 90 per cent of those from affluent areas go to college, 15 per cent do so from poorer areas

Union says funding cuts and falling staff numbers need to be urgently tackled

Lynn Ruane with Róisín Ingle of the Irish Times on her election as president of TCD students’ union. Photograph: The Irish Times

Single mother who left school at 15 says politics missing a ‘champion of education’

Peter Cassells. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

From school patronage to teacher income

Girls outperformed boys in 25 out of 32 subjects at higher level and in all but one subject at ordinary level. Above, students celebrate getting their results, at Coláiste Íosagáin, Stillorgan, Co Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

Girls had a good 2015, but young teachers on low-hours contracts had a tough time

From September next year, the “free preschool year” will be expanded to ensure children can remain in preschool until they start primary school. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Here are 12 issues you are likely to hear plenty about next year, from school patronage to industrial strife

Graduate emigration could alter repayments and have implications for a system of income contingent loans.

Expert group report recommends introduction of income-contingent loan system

Hiqa inspectors raised concerns over the safety of residents at St Raphael’s residential centre in Youghal over the course of nine inspections this year. Photograph: Getty Images

Concerns over safety and welfare at Victorian-era residential home St Raphael’s in Cork

Document warns there are no easy fixes to resolving Republic’s third-level funding crisis

Under the proposed system graduates would begin to repay tuition fees once their income reached a minimum level. Photograph: PA

Government report suggests retention of university free at the point of access

Paula Kearns took appeal to try to secure place for her daughter in local school

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan: Draft Admission to Schools Bill proposed to introduce a more transparent admissions policy may be shelved. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Number of challenges increase by 20% but only a minority of them prove successful

Former president Kieran Byrne, who left WIT (above) in 2011, is understood to have rejected  allegations on spending, which are the subject of legal proceedings. File photograph: Paddy Whelan/The Irish Times

PAC told Kieran Byrne spent funds on chartering aircraft, hospitality and other items

While legislation which allowed parents to use force against their children was repealed in Ireland almost 15 years ago, the defence of reasonable chastisement has remained in common law for parents or child carers. File photograph: PA Photo

Minister James Reilly says move will lead to cultural change over disciplining young

Catholic bishops have warned the Minister for Education that it is not her role to interfere with the ethos of faith schools.

Jan O’Sullivan wants to abolish 50-year old rule on status of religion in classroom

Rising number in need of support is likely to raise further questions over the merits of the new Leaving Cert maths syllabus, “project Maths”. Photograph: Getty Images

Substantial minority reliant on supports to succeed, says chairman of review group

The poll of 1,000 people, conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes, was commissioned by Equate, a new campaign group seeking equality for children in the education system. Photograph: Getty Images

Poll shows majority believe school children should not be excluded based on religion

At present, 30 minutes of each primary school day is allocated to religious education - twice the amount of time devoted to subjects such as science or physical education. File photograph: Getty Images

Rule 68 states that religious instruction ‘by far the most important’ part of curriculum’

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan said it was no secret that the higher education sector was experiencing difficulty given increases in the number of students and the need to provide courses to meet the needs of employers. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Pressure on third level and extra teacher retirements behind request to Government

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: “I have no interest in being patron to any school which does not have an avowed Catholic ethos” Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Baptising children to attend a specific school ‘abuse’ of sacrament, says Diarmuid Martin

Students march past the front of Trinity College Dublin in a protest against anticipated increases in registration fees and reductions in grants in 2011. Photograph: Eric Luke

The next government will need to decide how to fund our creaking third-level education system

Parents get an idea of academic performance but experts say there is more to education

High achiever: Conor Gallagher of St Michael’s College, Ballsbridge, got nine A1s in the Leaving Certificate last year.  Photograph: Eric Luke

Boys dominate feeder school lists for third level, but girls still perform best

A new and amended section, due to be signed into law shortly, will shift the emphasis on protection to the employee rather than the institution. Photograph: PA

Religious schools may no longer prioritise ethos over workplace protections for staff

The fragmented transport links in Dublin means students in disadvantaged areas are more likely to attend their local IT rather than heading to university

Proximity to universities outside Dublin influences the likelihood of college progression, while Clare records highest rate at 92%(...)

Mia Colleran and Shona Ní Aodhagain celebrate getting their Leaving Cert results at Coláiste Íosagáin, Stillorgan. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Students in more affluent areas of Dublin are four times more likely to go to college

Scheme worth an average of €1,500 for the parents of young children

Extended programme worth an average of €1,500 for the parents of young children

 Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Legislation to pave the way for new third-level institutions to be published this week

 Fr Joseph Mullen at the baptismal font  in the Church of Three Patrons in Rathgar, Co Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke/ The Irish Times

Clergy say there is little evidence of baptisms aimed at securing access to schools

In Ireland a nonbaptised child faces the prospect of languishing at the bottom of an oversubscribed school’s admission list

Mass attendance and chruch weddings are declining, but baptism rates remain resilient

Students on UCD campus in Belfield. File  photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Expert group leans in favour of the loan system used in Australia and Netherlands

High birth rates  mean the number of students entering higher education is projected to grow by almost 30 per cent by 2028. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Spending cuts and rising student numbers mean universities are on verge of crisis

Graduates could pay back tuition fees via income tax when earnings reach set level

Teachers in Ireland are paid more than countries such as the UK, France, and Italy, but they lag behind countries such as Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.

OECD report shows Ireland has one of highest rates of second-level completion

Dublin City University was named in 46th place in the QS Top 50 Under 50 list. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Prof Brian MacCraith says high ranking comes despite funding shortage at third level

Most schools will not be in a position to deliver the Junior Cert  changes because they are staffed by members of the  ASTI, which has rejected the reforms. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Children’s education being put at risk due to dispute, says National Parents Council

All second-level schools are being given education packs this week on tackling homophobic and transphobic bullying as part of a national campaign. Photograph: Getty Images/Hemera

More than half LGBT people report being called hurtful names over sexual orientation

The National Council for Special Education said while many secondary schools have inclusive admissions policies, it was disappointed there were still barriers to opening special classes, even in cases where they were clearly needed. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

State body says all students should have chance to attend school in their community

Institutes of Technology may face disruption in  coming months after the TUI announced plans to ballot members on a possible campaign of industrial action. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish  Times

TUI to ballot members over coming weeks as part of national campaign of action

Speaking at an event to mark the launch of tacklebullying.ie, Minister for  Education Jan O’Sullivan said it would be a single point of information and support for anyone affected by bullying.

Tacklebullying.ie provides advice and support for students, teachers and parents

Early Childhood Ireland chief executive officer Teresa Heeney: says vital supports such as speech therapists, psychologists and occupational therapists are  needed. Photograph: Garrett White

Many children with disabilities currently unable to access early childhood care and education

The recommendations are contained in the State body’s observations on the new Admissions to Schools Bill (2015). Photograph: PA

Legal change needed to end discrimination against unbaptised, minority faith children

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan with six year old Samuel Ogunbe pictured at Scoil Bride, Blanchardstown  where they launched the new six year school building programme. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

14 new schools for Dublin, Limerick and Laois to meet population growth

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton, Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan and Minister for Health Leo Varadkar with Samuel Ogunbe (6)  at Scoil Bhríde, Blanchardstown. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

At least 14 new schools and over 60,000 school places promised by Government

Ireland had the highest birth rate in the EU in 2014,  with 14.4 babies born per 1,000 residents. Photograph: Getty Images

Minister for Education to announce 310 new projects to deliver 62,000 more school places

Atlantic Philanthropies founder Chuck Feeney (right) with president and chief executive Christopher Oechsli. Photograph: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Trinity College Dublin and University of California to share largest allocation to date

Mothers chatting at the entrance to a tenement building in Dublin, circa 1945. Photograph:  Hulton Archive/Getty Images

From 19th-century tenements to the crisis of 2015 – 200 years of landlord v tenant

Housing in Dublin. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

From landlords to Nama, the market is made up of and influenced by multiple factors

  The new curriculum  will focus on the development of oral language, reading and writing skills. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Move aimed at training teachers to introduce new language curriculum

Archbishop Charles Brown: A neglected ethos “can dissolve to non-descript and vague spiritualism – or even disappear entirely.”  Photograph: Eric Luke

Archbishop Charles Brown says church has nothing to fear from growth in alternatives

TUI president Gerry Quinn (left) seen in this file photo of a teachers’ protest in May this year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Half of second-level teachers under-35 employed on temporary basis, says TUI president

Students seeking to travel to the US on J1 work visa will be obliged to find jobs before they travel under changes announced on Thursday.

Irish officials fear numbers participating may drop by up to 80 per cent

“For those who do not want faith education for their children, it is appropriate that non-faith schools be provided. It is faith that makes Catholic schools Catholic and what makes Catholic education different,” said Archdiocese of Tuam Archbishop Michael Neary.  File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Catholics must be clear on schools’ identity and why this is important, says Michael Neary

A Fine Gael senator wants to limit the access children have to unhealthy food during school hours.

Catherine Noone says move would limit access to fast-food and help tackle obesity

A new Leaving Cert “politics and society” subject is to be introduced next year and will require students to be familiar with political thinkers such as Karl Marx (above). File photograph: Imagno/Getty Images

Students will learn about key thinkers such as Karl Marx and concepts such as capitalism

Letterkenny IT: The highest proportion of new entrants in receipt of a grant is at Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

Trinity had 24 per cent of grant recipients compared to 67 per cent at Letterkenny IT

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said proximity could be included in “future reform”. Photograph: Frank Miller

Jan O’Sullivan says future reform of admissions needed to ensure equal access

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