The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has put together a comprehensive set of profiles of each of Ireland’s colleges, universities and institutes which includes information such as enrolments, participation levels, staff profiles, disciplinary mix and funding. It is hoped that the report, which is to be updated annually, will benefit students, parents and guidance counsellors by serving as a reference guide to the performance of higher education in Ireland.
The report will allow the HEA to monitor trends in higher education in terms of areas of study, student numbers and participation as well as the financial and human resource base. Tom Boland, HEA Chief Executive, said the report shows the HEA’s determination to work with the government in its attempt to reform and enhance Ireland’s international reputation in higher level education and its commitment to making Ireland one of the best countries in the world to study.
The report shows the ideal position of the college, in areas such as student to staff ratios, mature students and international enrolment, and where the college currently is in terms of those figures and there are some interesting findings as a result.
In terms of the universities. The results show that UCD has a low amount of mature entrants and UCC has a low number of flexible learning opportunities. TCD has a high number of research students but a low number of mature entrants. NUI has a high number of mature students and provides good flexible learning opportunities and DCU also has a high number of flexible learners. University of Limerick has low numbers in terms of mature and flexible learners also.
The colleges results show that Mary Immaculate College in Limerick provides no opportunities for flexible learners and has no international students. International enrolment figures were the same for St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra and were slightly better in terms of providing for flexible learning. St Angela’s College of Education in Sligo has good numbers of flexible learners.
Regarding institutes of technology; Athlone Institute of Technology has good numbers in terms of international enrolment but could do more for flexible learning and mature entrants. Cork Institute of Technology has a good student to staff ratio but falls short again in mature students and flexible learning. DIT has a low number of level 6/7 enrolments but shows a high amount of PHD graduates among staff members. Dundalk Institute of Technology has very low numbers of flexible learners but a high number of international students. GMIT has high numbers of level 6/7 enrolment but low numbers of flexible learners.
This is only a small selection of the many colleges, universities and institutes of technology and the full list and report can be found at www.hea.ie. The HEA say that the purpose of this report is not to rank the various institutions but to highlight the areas that need attention following the drop in quality in higher education due to the economic downturn. At a glance, it certainly does appear that work needs to be done to better provide for flexible and mature learning as this is a common area where figures are lower than they should be.