Lecturers may be told not to mark exams

Potential action by tutors over Coalition plan to eliminate payment for exam work


Third-level lecturers in institutes of technology may be instructed not to set or mark student exams, following a decision by the TUI to escalate its campaign against the new Croke Park proposals. The decision could affect students sitting exams this summer.

The unanimous decision, taken by delegates at the TUI conference in Galway yesterday, comes on foot of a Government plan to eliminate payment for exam work. The conference voted to refuse to mark exams if the new Croke Park proposals are accepted and implemented.

About €4 million is spent annually on exam payments in the institute of technology sector. Delegates said the exam proposals would disproportionately affect younger and part-time lecturers, who would lose additional payments.

Exam script
One delegate, Pat Goodman,

said lecturers with larger classes will have to correct significantly more exams than lecturers with smaller classes. Another, Alice Prendergast, a lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering at DIT, estimated that the Government was allocating about 18 seconds per exam script.

In 2010, lecturers agreed to increase their teaching time from 16 to 18 hours per week without a pay rise. The union is reminding lecturers that their workload will revert to previous arrangements upon the expiration of Croke Park I.

Delegates at the conference also expressed concern that lecturers and assistant lecturers are already overburdened with an increased administrative workload.

Staff numbers in the sector have fallen by 7.3 per cent since 2009, while student numbers have risen by 14.9 per cent. Lecturers say they have delivered in excess of 150,000 additional hours, generating more than €13 million in savings. A further 12 per cent increase in student numbers is projected for 2013-14.

Paid contracts
Several sources claimed that lecturers in institutes of technology regularly work between 50 and 60 hours per week.

TUI delegates also voiced anger over the increased use of casual lecturers and hourly paid contracts in the sector.