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College asks its ex-president to repay expenses


Waterford Institute of Technology has asked its former president Kieran Byrne to repay some expenses incurred during his time in office that it claims were of personal benefit to him.

He was not reappointed to a second term in 2011 after details emerged of spending by his office that peaked at €630,000 in 2008 and included serious breaches of spending controls in areas such as hospitality and taxis. In total, €3.7m was spent by the college’s office of president from 2004-11.

The WIT governing body’s decision not to reappoint him is understood to be the subject of a legal challenge by Mr Byrne against the college, where he was director and later president since 2001.

WIT has now reviewed spending by his office from 2007-11 to identify any spending that could be deemed of personal benefit to him.

In a letter to the Higher Education Authority (HEA), his successor as president, Ruaidhrí Neavyn, and WIT governing body chairman Donal Ormonde, say the college has sent Mr Byrne a claim for reimbursement.

The Irish Examiner sent WIT a number of questions on the nature and scale of the expenses it claims were of personal benefit to Mr Byrne. A spokesperson said the college could not comment for legal reasons.

The WIT letter of Jun 27 to the HEA was forwarded by the Department of Education to the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which has published it on the Oireachtas website.

via College asks its ex-president to repay expenses | Irish Examiner.

Merger of Trinity and UCD urged in top-level report – The Irish Times – Tue, Sep 25, 2012


 

THE PUBLICATION of a major report on higher education, which recommends the merger of University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin among a series of sweeping changes to the higher education system, has been delayed.

University sources claim the controversial report – commissioned by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and carried out by an international panel of education experts – has been “shelved”. However, this was strongly refuted by official sources last night.

The report was due to be circulated among university presidents and other college heads yesterday but its release has been postponed after discussions between the HEA and the Department of Education.

Scheduled meetings between college heads, the HEA and the international panel – due early next month – have also been postponed to an unspecified date.

In a letter to university presidents and other college heads last Thursday, HEA chief executive Tom Boland said some further time was needed “for clarification on policy issues and for wider consultation”.

The report of the international panel, chaired by Prof Frans Van Vught, a Dutch academic specialising in education policy, proposes the State’s 20-plus higher education colleges should be consolidated into just six. It envisages a series of changes including the UCD-TCD merger and the creation of a national technological university with a campus in both Dublin and Waterford.

There is speculation that other changes in the unpublished report include the merger of DCU, NUI Maynooth, Athlone IT and Dundalk IT; the merger of NUI Galway with colleges in the region, the merger of all colleges based in Cork-Kerry and the merger of colleges based in Limerick.

In a letter to college heads earlier this month, Mr Boland says the r

via Merger of Trinity and UCD urged in top-level report – The Irish Times – Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

via Merger of Trinity and UCD urged in top-level report – The Irish Times – Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

 

Salary Cuts for New Teachers a Recipe for Disaster


The general secretary of the Irish National Teachers Organisation today called on the Ministers for Public Service Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin and the Minister for Education and Skills to restore the salary levels of new teachers or risk causing serious damage to the quality of teachers in Ireland.

Sheila Nunan was speaking following the publication of a report for the Higher Education Authority which recommended a reorganisation of teacher education provision.

The review carried out by a panel of international experts noted the high calibre of entrants to teacher education in Ireland. Its report stated that the academic standard of applicants to teaching is amongst the highest, if not the highest, in the world. It recommended that this rich resource be highly valued.

Ms Nunan said this recommendation stood in stark contrast to the series of wage cuts imposed on starting teachers.

Teachers starting teaching for the first time this September are being paid €27,814 which is €11,381 less than teachers recruited in 2010. The reduction comes about from a ten per cent pay reduction, a less favourable starting point on the salary scale and the non-payment of allowances which the union says is part of teachers’ salaries.

“At the very time a prestigious international report is advising government to value its excellent teachers the government demeans their work and erodes their goodwill by cutting their pay,” said Ms Nunan.

Teaching in Ireland is recognised in the report as an attractive career choice and recruitment is highly competitive. The work is seen as demanding and it attracts social prestige unlike in most other countries in Europe.

Ms Nunan said government could not continue to cut pay and expect to attract the brightest and the best into teaching. She called on government to pay new teachers the same allowances as their colleagues.

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