Teaching framework is not the solution to third-level education problems

 

Sir, – Your article (Concerns over quality of third-level tuition prompts review, Home News, July 25th) reports that Minister for Education Richard Bruton is considering a UK-style Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) as part of a proposed review on standards in higher education.

This is both incredible and exasperating. How can anyone seriously propose that our already short-staffed and overworked universities should divert funds and personnel to yet more form filling and bureaucracy?

A Tory-style TEF system here would simply replicate a cumbersome, bureaucratic approach that has failed to deliver improvements in England.

The issues at third-level in Ireland are already blatantly clear – greatly reduced teaching staff numbers and ever increasing student enrolment, compounded by starving the sector of necessary State investment. This is not just an Irish Federation of University Teachers’ view, it is mirrored by statements from Ibec, HEA and other bodies.

Why does the Minister need yet another consultation on higher education? There are reviews and recommendations piling high on Government shelves that have remained unimplemented.

A TEF-based approach in Ireland would further demoralise our universities and reduce their status internationally. It will feed further into a cost-cutting mentality, as already evidenced in the UK.

The Government should deliver a real and significant increase in direct third-level funding in the forthcoming budget, not seek to create smokescreens to dodge the necessary decisions for yet another year. – Yours, etc,

MIKE JENNINGS,

General Secretary,

Irish Federation of University Teachers,

Dublin 2.