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DIT lecturers combat cuts

About 4,000 Institute of Technology lecturers, members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland and supported by the Union of Student in Ireland, took strike action on February 3th over funding cuts.

strike      Source: Simon Auffret 

A large majority of classes were cancelled in the country’s 14 institutes of technology, as lecturers protested against funding cuts over the last seven years.

During the austerity years, Institute of Technology funds have decreased by 35 per cent, even though 21,411 additional students arrived in the third-level education institutes. Over the same period, lecturer numbers fell 9.5 per cent.

“This has had a direct, detrimental effect both on the quality of service to students and on the working conditions of academics,” explained president of the TUI Gerry Quinn in the Irish Times yesterday.

In Dublin, all campuses remained open during the strike, but most of the classes are cancelled. Picketing In front of Aungier Street, lecturers Grainne Crean and Claire Scully told the Liberty that “the increasing workload is due to severe funding cuts”.

“I now have 18 hours of lectures every week, which is the highest average in Europe,” French lecturer Grainne Crean said. “We are also protesting against the deteriorating working conditions of the part-time lecturers.”

strike2

Source: Simon Auffret

This one-day strike could be followed by further action over the coming weeks, according to other lecturers.

“It’s at breaking point,” said Alan Harrison, engineering lecturer in DIT’s T Kevin Street campus, citing problems with materials arrived in his department after the funding cuts. “Important software isn’t being updated anymore.”

“It’s time to reinvest,” he added. “This situation can’t continue anymore. That’s the message we wanted to send to the new government today.”

By Simon Auffret

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