Institutes of technology in line for €200m investment

Funds will allow major building projects in 11 third-level institutes across the State

Carlow Institute of Technology. Photograph: Paddy Whelan

Carlow Institute of Technology. Photograph: Paddy Whelan

 

Institutes of technology across the State are in line for a substantial windfall as the Government gets ready to embark on a major building programme to cater for increasing numbers of third-level students.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton and Minister for State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor will, on Monday, announce a €200 million investment in new buildings for the State’s ITs under the latest Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme, in the Carlow Institute of Technology.

There will be a strong focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including ICT, and life sciences in order to drive regional development. The money will see 11 higher-education buildings constructed to cater for in excess of 8,000 new student places.

The 11 projects are located in Athlone, Cork, Dún Laoghaire, Galway, Blanchardstown, Carlow, Tallaght, Tralee, Letterkenny, Limerick and Waterford and are expected to provide a boost to local economies and to the construction industry, creating approximately 1,500 construction-related jobs during the building phase.

“The delivery of these projects, together with the additional €257 million over three years in capital funding which we secured last week in the budget, mark a turning point for State investment in the higher-education sector,” according to Mr Bruton.

Many institutes of technology are in debt and struggling to make ends meet. Students argue that quality is suffering from poor access to tutorials, outdated equipment and overcrowded facilities.

Third-level student numbers are projected to increase by almost 30 per cent over the next decade and the Cassells report on the future funding of third-level has projected that an additional €1 billion is needed over the next decade if the State is to achieve its stated aim of building a world-class higher education system.