Milligan Court Student Accommodation

Milligan Court – (www.milligancourt.ie)

Milligan Court is a contemporary student accommodation complex comprising of 18 well equipped self-catering apartments and 27 townhouses – all fitted out and decorated to a high standard. We are the only student accommodation located in the heart of the town.

IT Sligo is a 10 to 15-minute walk; 5-minute cycle or 5-minute bus journey.

St Angela’s College is a 10-minute drive or 25-minute bus journey.

Situated only a stone’s throw from all amenities including the Garavogue River, a vast range of shops, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, clubs, bars, banks, Sligo Hospital, Sligo Library and the Model Art Gallery.

Choose from a selection of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom properties – all neutrally decorated and furnished with your absolute comfort in mind. The kitchen/dining areas all have table and chairs, electric ovens with 4 ring electric hobs, fridge/freezer, microwave, kettle, toaster, crockery, cutlery and saucepans.

The comfortable living areas contain leather sofas and/or armchairs, flat-screen TV

and coffee table. Fitted wardrobes, study desks with lamps, an iron, ironing board, clothes rack, mop and bucket and vacuum cleaner are also provided for your convenience. There are a limited number of luxury townhouses, some of which have en suite bathrooms, separate additional WC’s, a balcony, washing machine and/or dishwasher.

Milligan Court is a secure complex which provides unlimited high-speed WiFi, underground covered parking, bicycle racks, 24-hour security, lifts throughout the complex and reception office open 5 days a week, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Postal, laundry and refuse services and a pharmacy are all available on site.

  • Single Standard Room with Shared Bathroom – €4,600
  • Double/Twin Room (Single Occupancy/Not Sharing) with Shared Bathroom – €4,800
  • Twin Room (Per Person Sharing) with Shared Bathroom – €3,400
  • Double en suite Room – €4,900
  • Double en suite Room (Per Person Sharing) – €3,600
  • Twin en suite (per person sharing) – €3,800
  • Luxury Single Room with own bathroom – €4,900
  • Luxury Double en suite Room – €5,200
  • Luxury Double en suite Room (Per Person Sharing) – €3,900
  • Luxury 1 Double Bed Apartment (Single Occupancy) – €6,250
  • Luxury 1 Double Bed Apartment (Per Person Sharing) – €4,000

Office Opening Hours:

9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

Undergraduate Awards

Places are filling up in The Undergraduate Awards 2013 programme.

The Undergraduate Awards is the world’s only pan disciplinary academic awards programme, and we also run a separated, dedicated programme throughout all third level institutions in Ireland that aims to identify the top students here. Below is a blurb that will let IT Sligo students know of this opportunity. If you could circulate this among students and academics, that would be fantastic.

As you will note, we are pan-discipline, meaning a host of students at IT Sligo are in fact eligible to apply!

Students intending to submit can register here to save their place.

If you need any more information – or if you would like some posters or flyers – please do not hesitate to contact me via email or on 01 543 1286.

Calling all festival goers!

Would you enjoy music, surf, sea and sessions for free this summer?

Sea Sessions in one of Ireland’s best and upcoming surf and music festival held in Bundoran, Co. Donegal. It will be held this year on June 21st, 22nd and 23rd. It has been running consecutively for four years and has grown rapidly in a short space of time. The festival promotes new and upcoming artists as well as having played host to some of the biggest and best music names out there including Kaiser Chiefs and Bell X1 (2012).

Sea Sessions 2013 has teamed up with IT Sligo in order to make this year’s festival bigger and better than ever. A group of third year PR and Event Management students are applying their skills to recruit and manage this year’s volunteer programme. This is the first time the students have worked on an event of this calibre. It’s an exciting opportunity for Sea Session organisers, the students and IT Sligo.

The students have been given the task of recruiting new volunteers for the festival and will be doing this in a number of ways, look out for our Facebook and Twitter pages. Volunteers will be required to work over the course of the three day festival in three, four hour slots. Volunteers will be assigned different tasks throughout the course of the festival including pre festival preparation, stewards, tickets scanners, beach stewards, campsite stewards and even backstage crew!

This year the organisers have managed to get well known bands ‘Bastille’ and ‘The Original Rude boys’ to headline the festival, so obviously volunteers will get a chance to see both of these bands preform live. Sea Sessions has a genre for everyone ranging from indie, to dance to rock music. As it’s also a surf festival it makes it unique to every other festival in Ireland. It’s a great opportunity to meet other surf enthusiasts, dip your feet in the world of surfing and to catch some waves.  Why wouldn’t you want to go to a beach party like this all for only 12 hours’ work?

So why become a Sea Sessions volunteer you ask? Well you get to experience going to one of the best festivals in Ireland and you get to see a huge variety of different bands and artists, you only work a total of 12 hours the entire weekend and best off all? It’s completely free to volunteer for Sea Sessions!

60/70 volunteer will be required to work at this year’s festival so if you are interested or know someone who may be interested check out www.seasessions.ie and sign up to volunteer! Keep an eye on both Facebook and Twitter pages also. The students will also be having an information day in the main concourse of IT Sligo on Wednesday the 17th of April between 1 and 3 pm, so head on down to find out more and to get involved!

Have Your Say!

First year and final year undergraduates and students undertaking taught postgraduate programmes at IT Sligo are being encouraged to ‘have their say’ by participating in the new National Student Survey which was launched today (Monday, March 4th, 2013).

The survey, which is being conducted by the Higher Education Authority, will measure the experience of students attending higher education institutions in Ireland.

All responses are confidential and the survey only takes 10 minutes to complete.

The Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn TD said that the survey is “a key tool in measuring the wider performance and quality of Irish higher education.”

Dr Brendan McCormack, Registrar at IT Sligo encouraged students to fill out the survey, saying; “This is the first national student survey of its kind in Ireland and its success, and the impact it can have, will be determined by the level of response it gets from students. The survey represents an important opportunity for students to have their voices heard at the highest level about the type of experience they’re having and the level of service they’re receiving and I would encourage all eligible students to fill out the survey.”

Invitations to fill out the survey have been issued to students today by email.  The deadline for responses is April 12th 2013.

For further details on the survey approach, the process adopted, and the questions, please click here: www.studentsurvey.ie

Virtual Careers Facility

A new virtual careers facility has been launched at IT Sligo that will make it easier for graduates and employers to connect in relation to recruitment and selection.

IT Sligo is the first higher education institution in Ireland to commission the Prospects.net software, which is a sophisticated one-stop-shop for graduate career and recruitment solutions.

Careers Officer Deborah Seddon said the software will enhance extend and streamline services offered by the Institute’s Careers Office, essentially making it easier for employers to reach the types of graduates they require; “The Prospects.net software provides a digital platform for organisations to publicise their vacancies and for students to keep up to date with graduate opportunities,” she said.

The portal can also facilitate live virtual careers fairs, she said, which will be advantageous to both employers and graduates; “Resources are in demand across all sectors at the moment and we have found that companies are finding it more and more difficult to send representatives to day-long graduate fairs and recruitment events,” she said. “The virtual fair eliminates this logistical challenge and cuts cost for companies.  We have a wide range of companies signed up now advertising positions.”

Having the facility online also means that it’s easier for graduates located overseas and around the country to access, she said; “This platform streamlines our activities and enables us to target students and graduates of specific disciplines in a very strategic way. Whether they’re in Cork or Canada, they can sign up to the same alerts and we’re very encouraged by the level of opportunities currently being advertised by companies.”

The Careers Office advises IT Sligo students and graduates to use the Prospects.Net software in conjunction with www.gradireland.com. To find out more see http://itsligo.prospects.ac.uk  or contact the Careers Office at careers@itsligo.ie

Massive Online Open Course

Just as the online revolution is dramatically changing the music industry – as most recently evidenced by the recent sudden closure of music giant HMV – it also appears that a seismic shift in the way higher education is delivered may not be far away.

IT Sligo has announced that it is to follow in the footsteps of Universities like Harvard and MIT to become Ireland’s first public higher education institution to offer a free online course or a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC).

Traditionally, colleges charge fees for online programmes and offer accreditation upon completion.  By comparison, under the MOOC model, courses are free, are not accredited and have ‘massive’ enrolments – in some cases in the thousands.

MOOCs are considered to be a ‘disruptive innovation’ in higher education and have been sweeping the US in recent years. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested $3 million in the development of MOOCs in the US last November and Bill Gates said MOOCs are going to ‘revolutionise education’.

Ireland’s first MOOC will commence at IT Sligo this September and will take the form of a free, six-week online course in Lean Sigma Quality, the foremost quality process improvement approach for companies in the manufacturing and service industries.

President Professor Terri Scott, said the initiative is a natural progression for the Institute; “IT Sligo has been at the forefront of innovations in online learning so we see it as a natural progression to be forging new ground with this MOOC ,” she said.

“It’s a very exciting development and we’re delighted to be pushing the boundaries in improving access to higher education.”

In line with leading MOOC provisions internationally, the course at IT Sligo will be entirely free and it won’t be accredited. However, students completing the course will benefit considerably from the experience, according to Brian Mulligan who is one of the Programme Managers at the Institute’s Centre for Online Learning; “Students who complete the course will receive a certification of completion and will have the option of progressing to our accredited online Six Sigma Green Belt course,” he said, adding that the Institute’s existing online learning platforms Moodle and Adobe Connect will be used to deliver the programme.

The first MOOC will be delivered by Brian Coll and Dr John Donovan, academics from the institute’s School of Engineering & Design who both lecture on the Institute’s online BSc and MSc in Quality.

The change of higher education is set to mirror the disaggregation witnessed in the music industry in the last number of years, said Brian Coll. “Just as it is now less likely for someone to purchase a complete album as opposed to a single music track, people may soon be selecting the amount of education they want from various sources, studying it in their own time at a time and location that suits them, and putting it together in a combination that meets their skills needs – just like is done on iTunes,” he said.

“The online revolution is changing the world irrevocably,” said Coll. “We’ve seen plenty of examples of what happens to sectors and organisations that have been reactive rather than proactive to the pace of change and higher education is no different.”

For more information or to sign up for IT Sligo’s MOOC go to www.itsligo.ie

Flowing Praise for IT Sligo Hydropower Researcher

An IT Sligo Civil Engineering graduate and PhD student has been named among Ireland’s “most promising researchers” for a green energy initiative that would boost the country’s renewable electricity supply by bringing back to life hundreds of disused riverside mill sites.

Sean Mulligan’s design of an innovative hydropower plant is in line with the Government’s hopes for pioneering renewable technologies which will produce cheaper and cleaner energy.

The Sligoman is designing a hydraulic system to be used to generate electricity at “low head” sites such as riverside mills and other small scale/micro hydropower locations. Owners or developers would then sell it to the national grid or a site owner might decide to use it in his own home nearby.

Sean (24) says: “It‘s a very innovative concept with the potential to generate significant energy compared to conventional technologies.”

The research involves physical and mathematical modelling of the product, using advanced hydraulic testing techniques to optimise performance and efficiency. Official studies indicate that there are up to 600 water powered mills, often formerly used for grinding food grains, which could be redeveloped for electricity generation.

Sean estimates that they could contribute 25 MW to the national supply, enough to power approximately 17,000 homes.

“The majority of these sites are ‘low-head’, which means that they have a small drop between the upstream and downstream positions on a river,” he explained. “This technology can be utilised to efficiently generate energy from these low-head hydropower sites at an expected cheaper cost.”

John Casserly, who lecturers in Hydraulics at IT Sligo, said: “Sean’s project is an excellent example of a student converting a complex mathematical theory into a practical application.”

Sean intends eventually to go into business with his product and to provide consultancy on renewable technologies. In 2010, his project earned him a place in the finals of the Siemens-sponsored Engineers Ireland Innovative Student of the Year. Recently he was awarded funding from the Irish Research Council (IRC) which is enabling him to continue his Doctorate studies

Now the National Digital Research Centre (NRDC) and the IRC have now selected him and 14 other leading researchers for places on a new commercial mentoring programme. Called “From Basic Research to Business Models”, its aim is to provide the researchers with knowledge support to enable them to bring their ideas to market.

Science lecturer Richard Sherlock said: “No doubt Sean will benefit hugely from the programme and from being in the company of a select group of Ireland’s brightest young innovators.  And hopefully, he can bring home much of what he learns to carve out a successful business for himself that will be of economic benefit to the Northwest.”

Sean, who is in the third year of a PhD research degree, said: “I chose Civil Engineering at IT Sligo because it is a hugely varied discipline in which you apply engineering science and mathematics in basically everything that’s going in day to day life. As well, it has great scope for technological innovation.”

His hydro plant design imitates the principles and process by which water swirls and drains away when a plug is taken out of a sink. “When you pull the plug out of a sink a vortex or a whirlpool effect is developed. This design idea takes that same action by generating it in a specialised hydraulic structure to concentrate hydraulic energy at a single location where it can be extracted efficiently,” he said.

Symposium on Childhood Play at IT Sligo

Infant teachers in national schools, practitioners in childcare settings and other professionals and students who support children’s play experiences are invited to attend a Symposium on Childhood Play at IT Sligo on Friday, February 8th.

The potential for collaboration between practitioners, educators and scholars regarding children’s play research and practice experiences will be discussed by a wide range of speakers at the event, including; Marlene McCormack, Early Childhood Ireland; Arlene Forster, National Council Curriculum and Assessment; Professor Elizabeth Wood, Sheffield University; Patricia Gardner, Walking Matters: Access; Joan McGrath, Sligo County Childcare Committee; Mary Hough, Sligo Education Centre; childcare practitioners and members of the teaching and academic communities.

Research by academics at IT Sligo and Early Childhood Ireland demonstrates that children are engaging in much less ‘free play’ that their parents would have enjoyed.  The research, which was conducted by researchers at IT Sligo and Early Childhood Ireland, involved interviews with almost 1,700 families and 240 communities across the island of Ireland about how children aged up to 15 are ‘playing’ within neighbourhood spaces including streets, greens, playgrounds, laneways and parks among others.

The Symposium is funded by CRiSP the Centre for Research in the Social Professions.  Admission is free. It will take place at IT Sligo from 10am to 4pm on Friday, February 8th. To register see www.itsligo.ie  

Student Food Boxes

THOUSANDS OF THIRD level students around the country are being given boxes of food by Students’ Unions as they continue to wait for their grants to be paid.

The Union of Students in Ireland said students are going to college hungry, while one college has set up a soup kitchen to provide meals for students who can’t afford food.

New figures show that 5,575 students are still waiting to receive their first grant payment, more than four months after the college year began.

USI President John Logue said that many of the students were “desperate” for financial assistance.

“While some Students’ Unions can provide basic assistance as regards food and modest welfare loans, they cannot pay rent or fees for students who rely on grants to cover these costs,” he said. “The chronic delay with grant payments is stretching the patience of landlords to breaking point”.

The USI has called on the Minister for Education to put pressure on SUSI, the new grant system, to ensure all payments are received by the end of the month.

Ruairí Quinn acknowledged in November that some students would not receive their grants until January.

John Logue said that a “significant” number of Students’ Unions around the country are giving food boxes to students who come to college hungry.

The Athlone Institute of Technology has set up a soup kitchen in response to the demand from students who need food.

The new centralised system introduced last summer to replace the old system of local authorities administering grants has been heavily criticised over the long delay before students are told whether they will receive a grant or not, as well as an additional wait before the grant is paid.

The USI said SUSI has “singularly failed to make the grant processing system more efficient and, as a result, many students are in serious financial difficulty”.

Of the 65,000 applications to SUSI, more than 50,000 students were still waiting for a decision on their grant by the end of October, at which time SUSI had made a decision on just 12,000 applications. The backlog had dropped to 21,000 applications by the end of November

SUSI was forced to take on extra temporary staff in December to deal with the backlog

STOP Suicide Counsellor advises students to ‘listen’ to each other

A counsellor & psychotherapist working with STOP Suicide, a Leitrim-based charity that supports families affected by suicide, advised students at IT Sligo to ‘listen’ to each other at an event organised by students during  ‘Minding Your Mental Health Week’.

Students, lecturers and other members of the college community attended the event addressed by Michelle Fox B.A Counsellor & Psychotherapist, Supervisor & I.A.C.P. R.G.N, which aimed to create awareness of young people’s mental health issues.

Ms Fox advised students and lecturers how to identify signs when people are struggling, and more importantly, how to help. ‘Being there’ and ‘listening in a non judgemental way’ are two of the most important things that can be done for someone who is feeling low, she said.

The event was organised by marketing students Miriam Duffy and Yvonne Sloyan, with the help of their lecturer Emer Ward.

STOP Suicide was founded in 2004 by families who were bereaved by suicide. It’s a community, voluntary body that works to prevent suicide by informing educating and promoting positive suicide prevention policies throughout the west of Ireland. For more information see http://stopsuicide.ie/

Prestigious Award for Committed Conservationist

Dr Don Cotton, one of IT Sligo’s most respected academics, has received national recognition for lifelong commitment to environmental conservation.

In a ceremony at the Royal Irish Academy, he was presented with the Distinguished Recorder Award 2012 of the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

One of Ireland’s the best-known figures in Environmental Science; he was given the award for assiduous recording of key aspects of biological diversity, particularly in Sligo-Leitrim.

His compilation of extensive databases focussing on woodlice, harvest spiders, freshwater invertebrates, earthworms, butterflies, moths, bees, flowers, birds and mammals represents an unrivalled record of environmental impact over the past 35 years.

“Species are nothing without their habitat,” Don says, “and so the efforts of conservation should be to protect habitat such as the wetlands that our birds and insects depend upon.”

The retired Senior Lecturer reckons he has spent about an hour every day since 1994 compiling a database with 150,000 records of species. He is currently data basing and analysing 2,400 publications dating from 1850 in a project that will eventually contribute to a unique “computer book” about the natural history of Sligo-Leitrim.

The initial phase of the venture is already being realized in ‘Natural History of Sligo and Leitrim’ at the following link (http://staffweb.itsligo.ie/staff/dcotton/natural_history_of_sligo_and_leitrim.html.

Don came to Ireland from the UK in 1976 to do post-doctoral research at UCD into the impact of new agricultural practices on soil invertebrate ecology. He moved to Sligo in 1981 to lecture in Ecology and Geology at the then Regional Technical College.

“Anything to do with the environment and wildlife, I threw myself into it, and one of those things was the collection of data.”

He was prominent in the development of Environmental Science, playing a key role with a small group of visionary academics who developed the original BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science & Technology at IT Sligo.

Major recording initiatives he has been involved in include: the Winter Atlas of Birds 1981-1984; Winter Wetlands Survey 1984-1987; Dragonfly Survey; Chough Survey; Whooper swan survey and Barnacle goose survey.

He helped establish a BirdWatch Ireland branch in Sligo, has advised the County Council and is a founder and former chairman of the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group. He is a member of the Wildlife Committee of the National Heritage Council; the Praeger Committee (RIA)) and Sligo Heritage Forum. He is Botanical Society of British Isles County Recorder for Sligo and assistant editor of the Irish Naturalists’ Journal.

He sees greater need than ever for record-keeping and for conservationists to be advocates for the environment. “People are doing damage but they don’t see it as damage.  Often they do it because they believe they are passing on better land or creating greater opportunities for future generations. But it is not as simple as that.

“I have spent about 35 years collecting information and trying to get it used for the protection of the environment, which in turn stimulates eco-tourism in Sligo through walking-guides and nature trails. And I’m glad to say that I’m still at it.”

IT Sligo was the first third level institution in the country to offer environmental courses in Ireland almost 40 years ago and remains a leader in the field today. To learn more see www.itsligo.ie

‘Hooked’ on sea angling

IT Sligo students promote leisure tourism in fishing competition 

The North West of Ireland is already synonymous with some of the best surfing in Europe with surfers flocking from all over the world to take on the swell at locations like Mullaghmore, Strandhill and Rossnowlagh.

However, sea angling is fast emerging as another sport that could be championed by the region as it seeks to build on its position as a world-class water sport tourist destination.

Students studying the Bachelor of Business in Recreation and Leisure at IT Sligo hosted the inaugural IT Sligo/RNLI Sea Angling Competition at Streedagh Beach in Sligo this week with the aim of promoting sea angling and the wider north-western coastal zone.

There were more than 40 participants at the event including Fáilte Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland, the RNLI and a range of local sea angling providers.  MV Spirit, a local marine leisure charter boat business, won first place and took home the perpetual trophy and tuition and judging was provided by Sligo Sea Shore Angling.

IT Sligo Recreation and Leisure lecturer Kerry Larkin said there’s ‘massive potential’ in the development of sea angling and other water based sports along the northwest coastal zone; “We’ve seen how surfing has attracted people from all over the world to this coast, and sea angling can do the same,” he said. “The competition was organised to show how accessible an activity it is and to showcase the fantastic resource we have in the coast. Almost 130,000 overseas visitors to Ireland last year said they travelled here for sea angling so there’s great potential for tourist providers in the North West if they can build on the number that come to this corner of the country.”

Bryan Ward, the Angling Information Officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland said there is ‘huge potential’ for growth in sea angling tourism; “Because licences aren’t required, it’s a very accessible activity and there’s an abundance of species on the northwest coastal shore,” he said. “We’ve seen a huge increase in people taking part in it in the South West coast in the last five years and there’s no doubt that the North West has the potential to grow the same way.”

The coastline in the North West is undoubtedly a key attraction for visitors to the North West, according to the Head of Operations at Fáilte Ireland North West, Martina Bromley; “Sligo has real potential in terms of sea angling and angling in general, with clean waters and a wonderful resource of the Atlantic Ocean on our doorstep,” she said. “One of the most exciting projects Fáilte Ireland is working on is the Wild Atlantic Way – a tourism project that will entice the overseas visitors and holiday makers to stop off and spend more time in the region and of course participate in some fishing when they are here. Angling in such pristine conditions is a real asset for Sligo and has great appeal to visitors.”

Proceeds from the competition will go towards the local RNLI organisation. For more information on IT Sligo’s BA in Recreation and Leisure see www.itsligo.ie

Kuwaiti student promotes IT Sligo to a global audience

An international student at IT Sligo is promoting studying in Ireland to an international audience through the Education in Ireland website.

A student on the BSc in Biomedical Science, Fawwas Al Ahammari is the first Government-sponsored Kuwaiti student at IT Sligo, and he has just started a series of written and video blogs on the Education in Ireland website which is used as an information portal for studying in Ireland by students all over the world.

While Arabic is his first language, Fawwas has published six sci-fi themed books in English in Kuwait and is relishing the opportunity to communicate to students all over the world about studying at IT Sligo.

“I knew nothing about Sligo before I came here,” said Fawwas, who has eight brothers and three sisters, “but I really like Sligo because it’s smaller than the bigger cities but there is still plenty to do. Everyone is very friendly.”

He has adjusted to life in Sligo well and has joined a number of clubs, including the Aikido Society where he’s learning skills he needs for a part he will play in a play at home next Summer in one of Kuwait’s leading theatres, Kuwait Little Theatre.

A celebrated author and actor in his home country, he said he is keen to get his degree in Biomedical Science ‘for security’ to back up a potential career in the arts.

Patrick Lynch, Commercial and International Sales Manager at IT Sligo said that the Institute is making great strides in increasing the number of international students it’s attracting to Sligo; “This year we have experienced a 20 per cent increase in the number of international students’ enrolling.” he said. “We have students from France, USA, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Oman.”

The international students add enormously to the fabric of student life at the Institute but they also play an important part in the local economy, he said. “International students, like all students, contribute to our local economy, but they also visit our tourist attractions, their families and friends come to visit them and importantly, when they go home they continue to act as ambassadors for the region.”

Internationalisation in higher education is highlighted as a strategic priority by the Government in the blueprint for the future of higher education, the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030.

To follow Fawwas blog about IT Sligo click here.

‘Try a Tri’ in aid of National Suicide Research Foundation

IT Sligo students raised in excess of €750 in aid of the National Suicide Research Foundation at an innovative ‘Try an Tri’ event held in the Clarion Hotel.

Triathlons have experienced double digit growth in Ireland since 2007, with more than 140 events now taking place across the country each year.  However, while 20,000 Irish people took part in Triathlons last year, the average age of participants is between 30 and 34.

Students studying the Bachelor of Business in Recreation and Leisure organised the Try a Tri event in order to promote the sport amongst third level students and to raise money for the National Suicide Research Foundation.

Teams were required to complete a 400m swim, a 10k bike ride and a 4k run, while individual entries completed a 200m swim, an 8k bike ride and a 3k run. The individual winner was Tomás Madden from Mayo, with a time of 36.17 while the IT Sligo team, which featured Kerry Larkin, Brian McMorrow and Bernadette Gilroy, came first in the team category with a time of 42.64.

Lecturer Paula Roddy says this is the first event of its kind at the Institute but there are plans to make it an annual event; “Participation in triathlons has exploded in Ireland in the last few years and organising an event like this gives the students a real taste of what’s involved in the management of a multi-team event,” she said. “We also hope that it will encourage more students to get involved in the sport. While we have a very strong sporting tradition at IT Sligo, we find that most students tend to focus on their chosen sport or activity and we hope that by ‘Trying a Tri’ they’ll be encouraged to diversify their training and enjoy what is a very sociable and competitive sport.”

The NSRF conducts research in the area of suicide prevention and is recognised by the Department of Health and Children and the World Health Organisation as the leading research unit in the field in Ireland. Irene O’Farrell, Research Officer at the NSRF acknowledged the efforts of the students by saying; “The National Suicide Research Foundation is delighted to be involved with this initiative by the Bachelor of Business in Recreation and Leisure students at IT Sligo.  We thank them for choosing the National Suicide Research Foundation to be the beneficiary of the Try a Tri and for their hard work in organising and participating in the triathlon.”

The Clarion Hotel was the main sponsors of the event and provided the event, prizes and sponsorship.  Other sponsors included Seventh Wave surf School, Enniscrone, Voya Seaweed baths Strandhill, E.J’s menswear Sligo, Jack and Jones, Eason’s, Sligo, Wheats Catering, the Knocknarea Arena, IT Sligo Students’ Union and Cactus and Ruby wear.

The results were as follows:

Individual

  • 1st Thomas Madden 36.17
  • 2nd Paul Little 37.39
  • 3rd Paul Logan 38.37
  • Only female individual athlete: Lani Gregory 46.94

Team:

  • 1st IT Sligo Staff team – Kerry Larkin (swim) Brian McMorrow (bike) Bernadette Gilroy (run) 42.64
  • 2nd- 4th Yr Recreation & Leisure- Thelma Keenan (Swim) Brendan Butler (Bike) Denise Ward (run) 46.11
  • 3rd Clarion Staff team 2 – Mark Lewis (swim) Niall Walsh (run) 51.03

“Archaeology of Darkness”

Writer Brian Keenan will be among a panel of experts who will probe the theme of darkness at a conference in IT Sligo during the Halloween Bank Holiday weekend.

Fifteen speakers from Ireland, Britain and the US will address the “Archaeology of Darkness” conference   on such diverse subjects as ancient art, religion, prehistoric mining, caving, photography, and seasonal folk traditions during the one day event on Saturday, October 27th.

In his address “Bargaining with the Boatman”, Keenan will give his own unique insight into confinement and darkness as he describes the impact of four and a half years in captivity, as a hostage in Beirut from April 1986 to August 1990.

Emmy award winner Professor Jack Santino from Bowling Green State University in the US, will reflect the Halloween theme with a lecture about darkness and seasonal folk traditions, while another highlight will be Co Clare caver Tim O’Connell’s account of the 11 days he spent in 2010  in the world’s deepest cave. The Krubera-Voronja cave in Abkhazia, a disputed breakaway Georgian republic on the Black Sea, has been dubbed the “underground Everest”.

The conference is organised by Dr Marion Dowd a lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology in IT Sligo and Dr Robert Hensey, an expert on religious practices and belief systems in Neolithic Ireland, particularly the Irish passage tomb tradition.

In her lecture “In Search of Solitude in Darkness: Cave use in Late Bronze Age Ireland”, Dr Dowd will detail some of the fascinating artefacts she has uncovered in Irish caves. Dr Hensey will discuss people’s responses to darkness in the past and present in his address.

The eclectic programme will also include a lecture by Colman O Clabaigh OSB,  a monk of Glenstal Abbey and a medieval historian,  about  the role and experience of anchorites or religious recluses in Ireland between the twelfth and the seventeenth centuries. .

Professor Muiris O’Sullivan, Associate Professor of Archaeology and former Head of the UCD School of Archaeology will discuss the enigma of prehistoric art in Irish passage tombs.

In his lecture “Dark Places and Supernatural Light in Early Ireland”, Dr John Carey of UCC will explore the view that darkness was synonymous with enlightenment in early Gaelic tradition, while archaeological photographer Ken Williams will recount photographing some of Europe’s most spectacular dark places.

The event is open to all but places are limited. Further information and registration forms can be found at www.archaeologyofdarkness.com

IT Sligo Custodial Care Course wins Excellence in Teaching Award

An innovative partnership between IT Sligo and the Irish Prison Board was recognised this week when 10 Institute staff were presented with a National Award for Excellence in Teaching at a special ceremony in Dublin Castle.

The IT Sligo team was honoured by the National Academy for Integration, Research and Learning (NAIRTL) for their role in designing and teaching the Higher Certificate in Custodial Care (HCCC), a programme designed for prison officers working for the Irish Prison Service.

Fifteen Higher Education staff representing six different Higher Education Institutions were recognised at the awards,   with five individual awards presented, as well one team award for IT Sligo. There were 32 nominations from 14 HE Institutions.

The IPS and IT Sligo commenced delivery of the HCCC in September 2007 and since then 740 prison staff have enrolled for the programme, which is  delivered over a two year period through  a mix of professional and vocational training. The learner-centred programme provides a mix of social science and health related subjects relevant to prison officer work, and is informed by contemporary research.

Fergus Timmons, Manager of the Programme, said it was the first time IT Sligo had received one of the NAIRTL awards and he described it as a great honour for the Institute. “It recognises and rewards our endeavours in developing and delivering what is an innovative programme, combining research with practical hands-on training in an area which was traditionally under-researched,” he said. Mr Timmons pointed out that the programme had been developed from scratch, being the first of its kind in the country, reflecting the flexible, adaptive and dynamic learning environment at IT Sligo.

“The HCCC is very much a collaboration with the IPS. It is a social science course which covers sociology, criminology, psychology, ethics, and health studies and there is a big emphasis on professional development and professional practices”, said Mr Timmons.

As well as face to face workshops,  participants  benefit from IT Sligo’s expertise in the area of online learning as part of the course is delivered though the Institute’s Moodle Virtual Learning Environment. “We are very conscious on the need to adapt to the circumstances of prison officers, who are also working in prisons around the country,” said Mr Timmons.

Dr Catherine O’Mahoney, acting Manager of NAIRTL praised the multi-disciplinary element of the IT Sligo team. “Their diversity makes them unique with staff involved in everything from conflict resolution to health and ethics,” she pointed out.

The Chair of the HCC programme is Dr Kevin Sludds,   a qualified therapist and contributor to the Government’s strategy on suicide prevention. Other members of the team include Sinead Barrins who lectures in advocacy and communications, Ethics lecturer, Finola Colgan-Carey , Dr Marcus Hopkins who runs the Humanising Conflict Group for those affected by conflict from any political or religious background and lecturer Dr Liam Leonard who is the current  President of the Sociology Association of Ireland.

Also involved are lecturer Paula Kenny, Treasurer of the Sociology Association of Ireland, Jessica Mannion a part-time Lecturer on both the Custodial Care and Social Studies courses in IT Sligo, Maresa McGee who has a  BSc in Biochemistry and an MSc in Neuropharmacology and works  as a Health Sciences lecturer in the Institute and Sinéad Meade,  a member of the Psychology Society of Ireland who  teaches communications, psychology, and professional practice and development to the prison staff

The individual award winners announced included:

  • Dr John Morrissey, Geography Department, National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Professor Kevin Nolan, School of Postgraduate Studies, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  • Dr Martin Fellenz, School of Business, Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr Paul van Kampen, School of Physical Sciences, Dublin City University
  • Professor Tony Ryan, Cork University Maternity Hospital, University College Cork

Being Young and Irish

President Michael D. Higgins is to met with representatives from the Union of Students in Ireland and its member Students’ Unions tomorrow in Áras an Uachtaráin at 4.30pm Tuesday the 18th of September. The meeting was intended to give student representatives a chance to discuss the President’s Being Young and Irish 2012 initiative.

The Being Young and Irish 2012 initiative seeks to advance the national discourse on inclusion by harnessing the power of young people, enabling them to participate and be more involved. The President is inviting young people aged 17 – 26 to contribute practical suggestions for the improvement of Irish society through an online consultation process and in regional workshops. The consultation will culminate with the President’s first national seminar, which will take place later this year.

 USI along with ITSSU have welcomed the President’s initiative and his willingness to engage with young people in a meaningful and constructive manner.

 Presidents from twenty three Students’ Unions will attend the meeting, along with USI’s Officer Board. The visiting Students’ Unions include:

Institute of Technology Blanchardstown

Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology

National University of Ireland Galway

Waterford Institute of Technology

IT Tallaght

National College of Ireland

St. Angela’s College Sligo

Dublin Institute of Technology

Limerick Institute of Technology

Letterkenny Institute of Technology

NUI Maynooth

Dundalk Institute of Technology

University College Dublin

University College Cork

Institute of Technology Carlow

Trinity College Dublin

Institute of Technology Sligo

Athlone Institute of Technology

Mater Dei Institute

Queens University Belfast

Galway Mayo Institute of Technology

IT Tralee

LIT Tipperary

Submissions can be made online at:

http://www.president.ie/featured-posts-with-news/president-invites-your-submissions-here/

The deadline for submissions is September 29.

IT Sligo offers new Funded Research Opportunities

IT Sligo has announced a major expansion of its research funding schemes with up to 30 students set to benefit this year.

This funding boost for prospective high calibre students underlines the Institute’s commitment to research as the lifeblood of the higher education sector.

Now in its third year, the President’s Bursary Award Scheme has been given a significant boost for the 2012/13 academic year. This year an additional 10 students will receive funding under the scheme which as always encourages research in areas which are aligned to the Institute’s strategic academic themes and national strategic priorities.

The Institute has also announced the launch of an innovative Strategic Research Student Fund this year under which up to 20 national and international students will have their tuition fees waived.

Successful candidates for the President’s Bursary Awards will receive an annual stipend of €7,250 plus a waiver of tuition fees for up to three years.

Dr John Bartlett, Head of research at IT Sligo explained that in a new departure this year,  students themselves are  being invited to submit proposals  across a number of specified areas which have the potential to boost Ireland’s economic and social recovery and sustainability.

“Allowing students to propose projects in this way will encourage innovation based on their ambitions, foresight and experience in other academic programmes nationally and internationally,” explained Dr Bartlett.

Proposals for research degrees are being invited across the following disciplines: Sustainability and Clean Technologies; Creativity and Design; Quality of Life and Healthcare, and Economy and Society.

“These areas reflect our core strategic research themes and we are confident that this year’s cohort of research Masters and PhD students will enhance our hard won reputation for competence, capability and innovation, and our track record,” said Dr Bartlett.

In addition to bursaries, the Institute is offering fee waivers to up to 20 research students under the new Strategic Research Student Fund. Dr Bartlett said this new funding mechanism would be particularly attractive for international students.

“This fund will increase student numbers and also enhance IT Sligo’s reputation for research which has the potential to boost Ireland’s economic and social recovery and sustainability,” the Head of Research stressed.

“We believe the expansion of our research funding further underlines our ability to achieve Technological University status at a time when the third level sector is preparing for major change,” he added.

The deadline for applications for the President’s Bursary Awards scheme and the Strategic Research Student Fund is Friday 21st September 2012.

For further information on the applications process see www.itsligo.ie or contact the Research Office at: rooney.rosaleen@itsligo.ie.

New course in Environmental Engineering at IT Sligo

Demand for engineers in some sectors may have declined in recent years due to the slowdown in the construction industry, but experts have warned that the increased focus on water and energy is leading to a shortage of environmental engineers.

 IT Sligo has over 30 years experience in delivering courses in the water engineering and environmental areas and is perfectly poised to meet the growing needs of industry in this area. The Institute has just unveiled details of a new three year Ordinary Bachelor of Engineering degree programme in Environmental Engineering.

The programme has been developed in response to the demand from both industry and from students for a level 7 qualification in Environmental Engineering tailored to suit this growing sector.

It is anticipated that significant spending will occur in the area of water and wastewater in the coming years in Ireland, with the introduction of a single national body for the management of our water supplies, and the introduction of water charges to individual users.

Mr PJ Rudden, President of Engineers Ireland, recently indicated that a shortage of qualified Environmental Engineers in the country has meant that   Environmental Science graduates are being recruited to fill jobs in the Waste Management, Energy and Environmental areas.

Trevor McSharry, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering and Construction at IT Sligo has pointed out that graduates of the new programme will be qualified for a range of jobs with local authorities, government agencies, engineering contractors, environmental consultants, Environmental Contractors and Environmental Operators both in Ireland and abroad.

“Students entering college have a huge desire to undergo studies in areas with good jobs potential,” he pointed out.  “The most recent Forfas guide on current and future skills needs in Ireland,  as well as recent comments made by the president of Engineers Ireland has confirmed that there is a shortfall of Environmental Engineering graduates. “.

The School of Engineering and the department of Environmental Science in IT Sligo had collaborated to create this new programme, a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree in Environmental Engineering starting this September 2012 (CAO code SG335).

“This new and innovative programme is unique in that it provides a strong foundation in the principles of Civil Engineering in the first two years and specialises in the Environmental Engineering and Science areas in the third year”, Mr McSharry stressed.

He said that the programme was attracting a lot of interest due to the growing focus on the development of effective water provision, environmental protection and sustainable development in Ireland. “On completion of the course graduates will have a range of options for further studies at IT Sligo in the areas of environmental science, construction project management and civil engineering,” Mr McSharry added

Students of the new programme will be introduced during the first two years to civil and environmental engineering areas of structural, hydraulic, geotechnical and highway engineering as well as project and site management. In the third year significantly more emphasis will be placed on environmental matters.

 It is hoped that the course will be recognised as meeting the educational standard required for Associate Engineer Membership of Engineers Ireland in due course. This would meant that the  IT Sligo qualification will be recognised in Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States, thus offering exciting opportunities for work and travel abroad.

For more information see www.itsligo.ie

Yeats Design Residency

Abbey Theatre and IT Sligo launch Yeats Design Residency

~ ‘We must keep young talented theatre makers in Ireland – Fiach MacConghail ~

The Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theatre and the Institute of Technology, Sligo today (Thursday 3 May 2012) mark the launch of an exciting partnership to nurture the talent of young Theatre Design students in the Institute’s Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Performing Arts.

As part of the historic initiative, an IT Sligo graduate will this summer take up the first, annual six-month Yeats Design Residency, during which they will work with world-class directors, designers and production staff on a range of productions in the Abbey and Peacock Theatre.  A series of work placement opportunities and collaboration on student projects have also been agreed.

The Yeats Design Residency bursary will be awarded to one student at the end of May. As part of their course, students were given the task of designing a set for A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the Abbey stage by Abbey Theatre Technical Director, Gavin Harding. Students were provided with a design brief, a budget and a timeline, in the same way professional designers are. At a reception today at the Abbey Theatre, students will display and present their set designs.

Fiach MacConghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre said; ‘The Abbey Theatre’s founders were committed to the importance of design in the national theatre. We are committed to ensuring the healthy future of that tradition by nurturing young theatre makers. This partnership gives young set designers an insight into the professional business of theatre. Many set designers go abroad to hone their craft. We must keep young theatre makers in Ireland by offering them support and opportunities. When I visited IT Sligo, I was struck by the sheer talent on display and the quality of the teaching which is world-class. I’m delighted to announce this partnership today’.

President of IT Sligo, Professor Terri Scott, said; ‘We are delighted to be formalising our association with the Abbey Theatre in this new venture. It’s fitting that two of WB Yeats’s greatest passions – the Abbey Theatre and Sligo – should come together in a partnership that fosters creativity. Providing career opportunities for our students is a priority for us and this partnership with our national theatre will give our undergraduates invaluable experience at the highest level’.

Frank Conway, who is a lecturer on the IT Sligo Performing Arts programme, is a former Head of Design at the Abbey Theatre and was instrumental in the development of the partnership. Speaking at the launch, he said; ‘Training in theatre design is the basis for a wide range of career opportunities in theatre and costume design, film and television production design, commercials, music videos, dance and opera. Many of these skills are currently brought in from abroad. I had to travel abroad many years ago for my own training. It’s a gift to have this course in Sligo, and now to have it so firmly associated with the Abbey Theatre.’

This partnership gives IT Sligo students the chance to gain work experience at the Abbey Theatre during their four year course. This will allow them gain insight into a working theatre, all aspects of theatre production, stage management and lighting and sound. Students will have the opportunity to attend technical and dress rehearsals, costume fittings, production meetings and attend meetings and talks with creative practitioners, directors, writers and designers. Members of the Abbey Theatre Production Department will participate in student assessments and the final year presentation process.

Speaking from London, OBE Award Winning Designer and Director of the internationally acclaimed Motley Theatre Design Course, Alison Chitty, said; ‘I am aware of the IT Sligo course in theatre design and its core philosophy of design as a way to release the play. I personally know some of the highly experienced tutors and the quality and high standards they invest in the course. I am delighted to see its development and totally endorse it, and the development of this historic relationship with Ireland’s national theatre.’

The BA (Hons) in Performing Arts at IT Sligo is the only full-time, degree programme which specialises in theatre design in Ireland. It has been running since 2006. The 2012 Graduate Exhibition of the programme will be launched in The Model in Sligo by the Abbey Theatre’s Technical Director, Gavin Harding, next Tuesday, 8th of May at 6pm.

The Abbey Theatre acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council.

The Cuts – Bad for Ireland

FOR A GENERATION of emerging scholars, the whole of their adult lives has been an  experience of constant public crisis.

Experience has taught them that ‘reform’ and ‘innovation’ more often than not mean cutbacks, privatisation and commodification. The latest, we learn, is the prospect of having  funding for new postgraduates cut off completely.

Even  if the proposal to end postgraduates’ grants is another example of the  increasingly familiar ‘will they-won’t they?’ pre-Budget theatre, it demonstrates  how the Government truly sees higher education: nice, worthwhile maybe, but ultimately  inessential. In such a context, the progressive slide downwards by Ireland’s academic institutions in international standings is unsurprising.

Just  as serious as the threat of emigration by a generation of students is the threat of  losing Ireland’s prestige in the international community. In plain terms, the country cannot sell an image of an intellectual  Ireland to tourists — the Ireland of James Joyce, or Elizabeth Bowen, or, yes,  Michael D Higgins — while simultaneously cutting off its scholars at the knees.

Cutting postgraduate  grants would be much more than a problem of presentation, however. It constitutes a part of the continuous ceding of ground to an  idea poisonous to Irish universities as a whole: that they must serve private  economic interests.

Such is the product of the  mentality that university research exists solely to generate ideas for business. And so, at the  bottom of this view of the university — as a combination job training centre and  enterprise cabal — is a view of education as an industrial process, a sort of Ikea  manual for putting together compliant workers.

This mentality concerns itself  solely with ‘upskilling’ (which is not actually a word) and ‘transferable skills’  (which is a coded expression meaning qualities that make someone more economically  valuable without wasting any time nurturing their spirit). Thus we have the true  nature of this reformed university: an education that does nothing to lead the  student to insight, personal or otherwise.

‘What is a university supposed to do?’

Here  we run into a vital question: what is a  university supposed to do? Well, support for higher education stems partly from a  desire to live in a society that values learning in and of itself.  Nevertheless, there is a basic relationship between the university and the public that  demands our attention. There really shouldn’t be this artificial distinction between ‘pure’  academic research and the university’s obligation to the body politic. The one mission informs the other: universities ask how the world works, what  must be done, how things can be changed for the better. An attack on postgraduates is an attack on the idea of the university as a public institution.

If we accept academic inquiry as a legitimate pursuit, we must accept that  such inquiry requires the freedom to say things that business, politics or  the public might not necessarily want to hear. The oft-heard refrain that  ‘there is no alternative’ to our economic situation, for example, should be an  alarming statement to postgraduate scholars of history, or international  relations, or even the arts. These are researchers for whom one-dimensional answers  delivered by authoritarian fiat are simply unacceptable.

Anecdotally,  I do not know of any postgraduate student, including myself, who does not supplement his or her funding with some kind of paid job. And yet,  postgraduates attack their subject with a missionary zeal. Few other pursuits can persuade you that poring over data in a library until three o’clock on a Saturday morning is a good idea. If postgraduates cannot find opportunities to study in Ireland, they will  go elsewhere, and they will take their energies with them. Those who cannot go will be  forced to abandon their education — a tremendous waste.

The  argument will come back that ‘savings must be made’ in education. I must point  these people to the Irish Times’s list of the hundred best-paid people in Irish education from last year: rather thin  on lecturers and grant recipients, while flush with administrators,  management and top brass. Such officials often seem unable to comprehend how bleak  prospects appear for graduate students simply looking to apply their talents, if such  talents are not set in the terms of venture capitalism.

The  question, then, is how best to guide academia’s ongoing transformation in a way that  does not neglect the academics. Ireland has seen, just  in this past decade, how dangerous it can be for a society to close itself off from  raising questions and challenging ideas. I ask Minister Quinn: how will  restricting access to education, and thus shutting down thought, help matters?

Miles Link is a third-year English studies PhD student in Ireland.

Source – www.journal.ie

Image – bdunnette via Flickr

Students’ union condemns Govt proposal to abolish postgraduate grants

THE UNION OF Students in Ireland has spoken out against Government proposals to abolish all financial support for new postgraduates from next year.

The union claims that by not giving postgraduate students maintenance support and grants, they will emigrate in search of other work and study opportunities.

“News of this proposal has been greeted with shock and dismay by students, parents and families,” said USI President Gary Redmond. “The  Programme for Government promises a surgeon’s scalpel would be taken to  waste and inefficiency in Higher Education. Instead a butcher’s cleaver  appears to have been taken to student supports such as the Maintenance  Grant.”

This morning, the Sunday Business Post revealed that the Government plans to scrap state support for new postgraduate students in order to save about €50 million per year.

“In practice, entry to many professions requires  some form of a postgraduate qualification. Families who are not in a  position to pay fees for postgraduate courses and pay for other  associated costs would find it impossible for their children to progress  to postgraduate courses,” continued Redmond.

There is not even any pretence at fairness in this  proposal. A student, no matter how talented, would not be able to  continue in education any further than their own financial  resources would permit.”

The value of this year’s Government maintenance grants ranges from €315 to €6,100 depending on family income and commute to college.

The USI has expressed its disappointment in the Education Minister Ruairi Quinn because of his pre-election promises to ensure there would be no increases in college fees or cuts to maintenance grants.

Indeed, many Labour TDs are not happy with the proposals.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie this afternoon, TD for Dublin West Patrick Nulty said he would fight “tooth and nail” against proposals that were floated in the media today.

“I think it is vitally important that as much pressure as possible is brought to bear on the Cabinet to make sure the Budget is fair and does not undermine young people’s opportunity to receive an education,” he said.

“Abolishing grants would be a negative move – especially when other savings can be made,” added the newly-elected TD.

He suggested the Department of Education can save money by looking at the subsidies paid to fee-paying schools and the university pay scales.

“If we are going to grow our economy, we have to make sure that education is accessible to every single citizen,” he concluded.

The USI has organised a national protest to be held on Wednesday at Parnell Square in Dublin from 1.30pm. The union expects tens of thousands of people to attend the rally to put pressure on the Government to “protect education and Ireland’s future”.

Source – The Journal

Tell Your TD

USI’s “Stop Fees. Save the Grant” Campaign is about ensuring that access to education is protected. Investment in education is vital to Ireland’s economic recovery. You don’t have to be a student to join the campaign. Cuts to education affects everybody in society, so please get involved to protect Ireland’s future.

For more information visit http://bit.ly/ukpgEU

Conference told of jobs crisis among Irish youth

FÁS AND the Department of Social Protection are ill-equipped to deal with the youth unemployment crisis, a youth representative told a conference yesterday.

James Doorley, assistant director of the National Youth Council of Ireland, said the Republic cannot afford to repeat mistakes of the 1980s with regard to long-term unemployment.

“Unfortunately the public employment service – which includes Fás and the Department of Social Protection – needs urgent reform as it is ill-equipped to deal with this crisis and to meet the needs . . . of new ‘jobseekers’ who are better qualified than previous generations but require more guidance and support .”

The conference was also told the State must do more to help young people make the transition from school to the workplace.

Anne Sonnet of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said the short-term employment outlook is gloomy for young people here.

“In the first quarter of 2011, the 15-24 unemployment rate in Ireland was 31 per cent and 46 per cent – much more than the OECD averages of 20 per cent and 27 per cent respectively.

Ms Sonnet raised several questions about the youth unemployment crisis in Ireland.

“In relation to education and training, are the recent reforms effective in tackling school drops-out and education, employment and training groups? Are the recent changes to the labour market well-targeted to disadvantaged youth? Are the long trial periods – 12 months in Ireland compared with six months in Germany – a stepping stone for a firm foothold in the labour market? Are the training requirements associated with sub-minimum wage rates for youth well-enforced?”

OECD research indicates, she said, how policies that promote growth are vital to give the young a fair chance in the world of work.

The Conference, Building Quality Jobs in the Recovery is being held in Dublin Castle.

It is being organised in conjunction with the Irish Departments of Environment, Community and Local Government, Social Protection; Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Children and Youth Affairs with the support of Pobal.

FORUM FACTS: MAIN POINTS

Ensuring young people acquire basic foundation skills and leave education with the skills that are required by employers and needed for life-long learning.

Tailoring training programmes to local or national labour market needs and including classroom instruction, on the job training and adult mentoring.

Using employment protection regulations, social security programmes and minimum wages to prevent the exploitation of young people in low-paid, precarious jobs.

 

‘Let’s Work West’ Jobs Expo

‘Let’s Work West’ Jobs Expo aims to create job opportunities in the West of Ireland

 

 

Have you recently lost your job? Are you struggling to find work in an industry that doesn’t have enough vacancies anymore? If so, then you should make it your business to come along to a free and exciting new jobs expo in Castlebar this October where you can gain advice, information, help, and possibly even a new career.

 

The ‘Let’s Work West’ Jobs Expo is an exciting new event that’s set to create more employment opportunities for people in the west of Ireland and will be a much needed positive breath of fresh air for people struggling to find work. Whether you’ve lost your job, a friend or family member has lost their job, or you simply want to up-skill or change career, there’s something for everyone at this event.

 

As times are changing and with more and more highly qualified people finding themselves out of work, you may find that you’ve become disillusioned and frustrated about what the future holds. It’s a competitive market out there but the good news is we can give you the right advice, skills, and relevant know-how to put you one step ahead of the game so that the next time you go for an interview you’ll walk in feeling confident, intelligent, and most importantly – highly employable.

 

At the expo, there will be free seminars on C.V. building, interview techniques, and advice on how to start your own business. You’ll also learn how to upgrade your job skills, develop new skills, or simply just explore new career opportunities.

 

There’s something for everyone at this event so make sure you put your best foot forward at your next interview by attending this jobs expo where you’ll learn everything you need to know about where to look for job vacancies, how to apply for your dream job, and how to make potential employers see the best in you.

 

The ‘Let’s Work West’ Jobs Expo runs from October 11 – October 12 2011 in the Royal Theatre, Castlebar, Co Mayo and is free to anyone who wishes to attend. For more information log onto www.letsworkwest.com<http://www.letsworkwest.com>.

‘All hell will break loose if fees brought in’: Students

The Union of Students of Ireland has said that “all hell will break loose” if Education Minster Ruairi Quinn re-introduces third-level fees.

The Education Minister said today that he would have to take into account the serious financial crisis in the country and in the third level sector when making a decision on fees.

Prior to the election, he told students that he would oppose and campaign against extra charges for students.

USI deputy president John Logue said all hell will break loose if the Minister doesn’t keep his promise.

“Ryanair will be delighted, because a lot of students I know will be heading off to Canada and Australia (if fees are brought back in). 

“If he wants to see us come back to the dynamic, smart economy that they keep on harping on about, he really needs to think long-term about this…. All hell will break loose (if fees are re-introduced),” he said.

www.examiner.ieFriday, June 03, 2011

Dip in the Nip 2011

Dare to Bare to fight cancer

A date has finally – finally! – been set for the 2011 Dip in the Nip. It is Saturday, 25th June. As before, it will be an early(ish) morning Dip, but because it’s moved to a Saturday, we are going to have a big party that night, so we’re hoping that the Dippers who travel for it will make a weekend of it! It’s called – wait for it – THE GREAT BIG DIPPER PARTY!

There’s going to be a lot of new things this year, which I will write about in more detail in the coming weeks. But firstly, let me tell you what the money you raise is going to support this year.

The Dip in the Nip is proud to support the Irish Cancer Society for the third year. The Irish Cancer Societys’ mission is to play a vital role in achieving world-class cancer services in Ireland, to ensure fewer people get cancer and those that do have better outcomes.

This year, the Dip in the Nip will also provide a Scalp Cooler to the Haemotology & Oncology Department in Sligo General Hospital. Scalp coolers are very successful in  minimising and sometimes preventing hair loss during chemotherapy treatments, and can also help in maintaining a positive body image at this challenging time. The Dip in the Nip over the next 5 years wants to ensure that ALL cancer patients have the opportunity and choice to use scalp coolers. I am delighted that the first one that the Dip will purchase is going to Sligo General Hospital.

And finally, the Dip in the Nip is supporting the Drogheda Cancer Research & Education Trust in providing  a genomic test which determines if a patient is better suited to anti-hormonal therapy than chemotherapy and which predicts the patient’s likely benefit from chemotherapy as well as their likelihood of breast cancer recurrence. Approximately 200 people a year could benefit from this therapy.

I will give more details of each of these projects over the coming week.

Irish Cancer Society will also benefit this year, but the Haemotology & Oncology Department in Sligo General Hospital and the Drogheda Cancer Research & Education Trust will also benefit.

COLDPRO FESTIVAL

 

COLDPRO FESTIVAL
Surf, Sounds and Soul.
www.coldpro.org

Sat 4th & Sun 5th June 2011
White Strand, Milltown Malbay, County Clare

‘Cold waters, Warm Welcomes’.

On the first weekend of June, Cold Pro festival is braced for blast off on the West coast of County Clare, Ireland. Described as an epic celebration of international sounds and Irish surf culture, Cold Pro showcases a musical line up of established legends alongside cutting edge talent, underpinned by a unique high stakes surfing contest, featuring some of Europe’s best riders battling it out for Û20,000.

It’s no wonder Cold Pro is already being hotly tipped to set the pace for Summer 2011.

THE MUSIC

The musical focus is on three stages featuring an incredibly eclectic range of talent, spun in an ‘alice in wonderland’ style web around the festival site. Artists already confirmed include Imelda May, Jamie xx, Peter Hook’s ‘The Light’ (playing Joy Divisions Unknown Pleasures), The Nextmen, Electric Wire Hustle, Scott Mathews, Ben Howard, The Amplifetes, Le Galaxie, Ivan St John, TY, Masters in France, Ellen and the Escapades and Those Dancing Days – to name but a few! More acts are being unveiled by the day, with over 60 mindblowing performances due to be going down over the weekend.

THE SURFING

With the festival site surrounded by some of Europe’s premiere surf spots, the Cold Pro Invitiational has been conjured exclusively for the festival with this in mind. It boasts a unique, high stakes contest format, pitching teams from the Celtic nations of Ireland, Cornwall, Scotland, Brittany and Wales against each other in a variety of breathtaking competitive challenges, out amongst the waves of Ireland’s mighty West coast.

Each days action will be documented, cut and displayed up on a big screen at the festival each evening. 20 surfers, 5 teams, and Û20,000 is the prize. Three stages of competing, including a jet ski tow at and an all against all session will enable some of Europe’s finest surfers to fully perform at the most creative professional surfing event yet seen in Ireland.

INDEPENDENCE

Run by an experienced team of surfers, musicians and festival lovers, Cold Pro is first and foremost, an independent festival.
Their objective is to create an authentic celebration that lets everyone involved come with expectations, have them exceeded, and leave feeling like they had the weekend of their lives and were part of something truly special.

Surf, Sounds and Soul are the words. Way out West in the epicentre of Irish surfing is the place. Early June, down in the stunning heart of coastal County Clare is the time. A weird and wonderful weekend of blissful mentalism is yours for the taking.
TICKETS
Weekend Tickets Û70  / Day Tickets Û40
Available now from…  www.coldpro.org/tickets

For more info www.coldpro.org and info@coldpro.org

Eire: Where Pillage has gone beyond Treason!

 

Ian R Crane, world renowned researcher and commentator, returns to the Emerald Isle to expose the lies, deceit and camouflage amongst Ireland’s political and business leaders.

They have systematically destroyed Ireland’s agricultural industry, under the guise of the Common Agricultural Policy. They have sold Ireland’s fishing rights, for a paltry Six Billion Euros. Worst still, they have GIVEN AWAY Ireland’s rich seams of oil and gas deposits. These resources gave Ireland the potential to become the wealthiest of all European nations, but these corrupt globalists have a destructive agenda, which will potentially subject future Irish generations to lives of hopeless economic slavery.

However, all is not lost! There are numerous examples from around the world where citizens are benefiting directly from their national wealth. It is not too late for the Irish people to recover their birthright, by learning from these shrewd nations.

Prior to the 2011 General Election, Ian R Crane joined Jim Corr to give a series of 22 presentations around Ireland, revealing the evidence that demonstrated the Irish Economy had been collapsed deliberately. All manufactured by corrupt and naive politicians, on the instructions of globalist financiers. And now, Ian returns with his latest presentation “Beyond Treason: The Pillage of Ireland’s Resources”.

Many people are now realising that the world is not like it is being portrayed by politicians, business leaders, and their media front men. Ian has probed behind the facade to discover the truth. He will be sharing unique insights into the latest chapters of the globalist master plan and the financial swindles by global financiers, all aimed at condemning future generations to life in a miserable financial nightmare.

Dave Derby, Editor of the Sovereign Independent newspaper, noted: “This is a talk that will make blood boil, as the corruption amongst Ireland’s political and business leaders is exposed in graphic detail.”

As recently as May 2010, arch-strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, senior adviser to American President Barack Obama, stated in a presentation to the highly influential Council on Foreign Relations that “…the greatest obstacle to establishing a One World Government is the rapid political awakening amongst the masses.”  

Ian R Crane commented: “For the sake of your children … and your children’s children, help take that awakening one step further.”  Details of the presentations, coming to a venue near you, can be found at www.ianRcrane.co.uk

– ENDS –

Full list of Ian R Crane’s presentations in the Republic of Ireland during May:

BEYOND TREASON: The Pillage of Ireland’s Resources:

Sat 14th May 2011 – Innishowen Gateway Hotel, BUNCRANA, Co. Donegal

Sun 15th May 2011 – The Venue @ McHughs, 1 Chord Road, DROGHEDA, Co. Louth

Mon 16th May 2011 – Welcome Inn Hotel, CASTLEBAR, Co. Mayo

Tues 17th May 2011 – Backstage @ Monroe’s, Dominick Street, GALWAY, Co. Galway

Weds 18th May 2011 – Abbeygate Hotel, Maine Street, TRALEE, Co. Kerry

Sat 21st May 2011 – The Glens Centre, MANORHAMILTON, Co. Leitrim

Mon 23rd May 2011 – The Spirit Store, George’s Quay, DUNDALK, Co. Louth

Tues 24th May 2011 – Locke’s Bar, 3 Georges Quay, LIMERICK, Co. Limerick

Thurs 26th May 2011 – Granville Hotel, The Quay, WATERFORD, Co. Waterford

BEYOND TREASON: Ireland’s Bilderbergers”: Daniel Estulin & Ian R Crane:

Thurs 19th May 2011  –  Montenotte Hotel, CORK CITY, Co. Cork

Friday 20th May 2011 – Academy Plaza Best Western, Findlater Place, DUBLIN 1

Daniel Estulin is an award-winning investigative journalist who has been researching the Bilderbergers for 15 years. He has recently had private meetings with Fidel Castro (Cuba), Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) and Vaclav Klaus (President of Czech Republic) to discuss the pervasive influence of this shadowy elite.

 

MAKING SICKNESS COMPULSORY:

Weds 25th May 2011 – An Sugan, 41 Wolfe Tone Street, CLONAKILTY, Co. Cork

3. For further information and ticket details, visit www.ianrcrane.co.uk

Youth anxious to contribute but feel ‘ignored’

Youth anxious to contribute but feel ‘ignored’

 

By Evelyn Ring

IRELAND’S young people believe they can contribute positively to the country’s future but feel they are being ignored.

A study reveals nine out of 10 believe they can help create a better Ireland and the vast majority (92%) also believe leaders and those in authority should consult with them about the country’s future. 

However, more than half of the teenagers feel young people are not treated fairly and with respect and almost half believe they are not given opportunities to air their views. 

The online survey of over 300 teenagers found most are worried about what they were going to do after they leave school (74%). 

Over a third cited their family’s financial situation as their main worry. 

When asked what they wanted most in life, happiness was ranked highest, followed by love and friendship. 

Success was more important to men while safety was more important to women. 

And while two out of three teenagers said they were proud to be Irish and to live here, they felt their education was not enough to equip them for the world of work. 

Over two-thirds said they lacked coping mechanisms for adulthood, while half said their education lacked opportunities for independent thinking and innovation. 

The survey was commissioned by Young Social Innovators (YSI), Ireland’s largest civic action programme for young people. 

This year around 5,500 people aged 15 to 18 years took part in the YSI project-based programme, undertaking almost 350 projects on social issues, 

A total of 60 projects have been short-listed for next week’s showcase event in Dublin that will be attended by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and 3,000 teenagers. 

Among the projects in contention are a national missing person’s awareness campaign, a youth literacy programme, community renovation schemes and a public campaign against the closure of a family resource centre. 

YSI, co-founded by Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, is funded through sponsorship, mainly from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. 

Additional support is received from the HSE, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth affairs, Irish Aid, Department of Education and Skills and KPMG. 

This appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Monday, May 09, 2011

Emigration the ‘new permanency’ for graduate teachers

Emigration the ‘new permanency’ for graduate teachers

SEÁN FLYNN

TEACHING GRADUATES have no option but to emigrate because of the jobs crisis in Ireland and the introduction of vastly reduced pay for new entrants to the profession, a young teacher said yesterday.

Aoife Ní Mháille – a 24-year-old Irish-language graduate – said emigration is “ the new permanency” for a huge number of graduates who have no realistic prospect of securing full-time work in Ireland.

Her emotional address drew a standing ovation at the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) conference .

Ms Ní Mháille from Carrigallen, Leitrim, is completing a master’s in education at Trinity College Dublin. She told delegates: “Teaching positions – not to mention the very rare permanency – are as hot as the Adele tickets for the Olympia last month”.

“As graduate teachers struggle to become an active part of the school community through part-time work, it has become apparent that our best chance of finding full-time work is to find it abroad – emigration is the new permanency. But emigration is not an option for me as an Irish teacher.”

A recent union survey found 12 per cent of graduating teachers do not plan to seek teaching work in Ireland due to the lack of secure jobs. More than half believe they will not have a secure teaching job in five years.

As well as having poor job prospects, new teachers also face a 14 per cent pay cut and much reduced pension entitlements.

Ms Ní Mháille recalled how there was no mention of these new realities when she registered for her master’s. “Logically, I did the right thing in getting my master’s. But, as it turns out, my decision to improve my subject expertise could cost me dearly . . . Now, I face a decrease in potential wages of more than €5,000 in just my first year teaching. I don’t even want to think about what that will equate to over a 40-year career.”

She also said the proposed cuts for new entrants were grossly unfair and will cause unbalanced working conditions in Irish schools.

The Government, she said, is “naive to think that graduates won’t be hurt by this unjust treatment or that inter-teacher relations, which are crucial to the running of a school, will not be weakened by such harsh proposals. The courses haven’t changed, the fees haven’t changed, and the calibre of students hasn’t changed, so why is the pay being changed?”

The Irish Times – Friday, April 29, 2011

Exam stress can bring on migraines

Exam stress can bring on migraines

By Dan Buckley

STUDENTS who suffer from migraine headaches have been warned that exam stress can bring on severe attacks.

 More than 10% of students suffer from migraine — a debilitating, neurological condition that can last up to three days. 

As exam season approaches, stress — the most common trigger factor — can bring about increased attacks in sufferers. 

“Students with migraine should be aware that special arrangements can be made to facilitate them during state examinations,” said Donna Ryan, information officer at the Migraine Association of Ireland. 

“A letter from the student’s doctor should be given to the school in advance of exams and the school can then approach the State Examinations Commission.” 

However, the MAI advises students not to solely rely on the examinations commission to facilitate them but to be proactive in managing their condition at exam time. 

“Migraine is sparked off by trigger factors,” said Ryan. “Good management involves finding triggers — using a migraine diary — and then eliminating them, if possible, from your lifestyle.” 

Common triggers at exam time include stress, missed meals, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, flicker from computer screen and dehydration. 

“The migraine brain likes routine,” advises Ryan. 

“At exam-time migraine sufferers should try to maintain this routine, so no overnight cramming, missing meals and snacking on junk food. We’d also advise migraineurs to get some form of exercise — even just a brisk walk during the day — and to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.” 

Stress can be harder to manage but the MAI advises migraineurs to set early deadlines so they have more time to prepare if an attack upsets the timetable. 

The MAI recently launched a website for teenagers, migra-zone.ie. 

Worried students, parents and teachers can also call the Association’s helpline service for advice or to order a free information pack. Call 1850 200 378. You can also email: info@migraine.ie 

www.migra-zone.ie

Want to be named Ireland’s Top Undergraduate?

 

Round 3 is officially open!

The Undergraduate Awards of Ireland & Northern Ireland are looking for the top undergrads on the island of Ireland. If you believe you have compiled an excellent essay or project which has received a high 2.1 or above during this academic year why not submit it for consideration?

Open to all final and penultimate year students, the awards aim to recognise Ireland’s brightest students, who have demonstrated innovation, originality and excellence in their coursework. You can submit now on www.undergraduateawards.com with the final deadline of 30 June.

If you believe you have composed an excellent project or essay of the highest standard; if you would like to be recognised as one of Ireland and Northern Ireland’s top undergraduates and if you want your CV to really stand out, enter now at:

www.undergraduateawards.com

Don’t forget! You need to prepare a 100-word abstract of your essay.

We are also delighted to announce our collaboration with GenePool, a graduate recruitment specialist.  Entrants to the Undergraduate Awards can now avail of fantastic recruitment opportunities, internships and placements – an invaluable opportunity in today’s harsh economic climate.

The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, has been confirmed to host this year’s awards event which will also be welcoming our top entrants from the United States of America for an exciting three day event in Dublin.

For more information about eligibility and categories, see www.undergraduateawards.com or email the Project Co-Ordinator, Sasha de Marigny, at sasha@undergraduateawards.com

 

GOOD LUCK

Student grant system to be overhauled to create one central body

The student grant programme is to be overhauled as part of changes to Ireland’seducation system.

Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn revealed that a single student grant authority will be established, which will replace the 66 bodies that are currently in place.

The centralised authority will be the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee (VEC) and it will work as the only organisation in charge of giving out student grants.

It is expected that the new system will affect third-level students applying for finance from the academic year 2012-13.

Minister Quinn said: “While I am grateful to the VECs and local authorities currently operating the student grant function, the system is clearly overloaded resulting in late outcomes to applications and late payments.”

Having one central authority will provide a better service to students cross the country, he added.

As well as awarding funding for pupils, VECs manage secondary schools, colleges, community primary schools and further education facilities in the country.

Written by Donal Walsh   

www.schoolday.ie – 14/04/2011.

Students urged to become organ donors

Students urged to become organ donors

Third-level students around the country are being urged to sign up to become potential organ donors.

The call was made by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) to coincide with Organ Donor Awareness Week 2011, which runs until April 9.

As part of the week, stands have been set-up in colleges nationwide where students can collect organ donor cards. Posters are also being displayed and special talks are being given on campuses nationwide to promote the benefits and importance of organ donation.

Students are also being encouraged to avail of the new organ donor ECard, which allows people to record their wishes via a smart phone application.

Last year saw a record fall in Irish organ donations, according to the Irish Kidney Association (IKA). Fifty-eight deceased organ donors led to 151 transplants. This represented a 35% fall in the number of donors compared with the previous year.

The IKA has voiced concerns that families of potential donors in hospital are not being approached because of staffing shortages and work pressures in the country’s intensive care units.

In response to this, the USI said that it is focused on raising awareness about the ongoing and increasing demand for organ donation and transplantation and to encourage students nationwide to carry an organ donor card.

“It is a sad fact that while medical science and surgical techniques have become so advanced, there are still hundreds of people on the organ transplant list. The number of organ donors in Ireland is on the decrease and this is something that we need to change,” commented USI president, Gary Redmond.

He noted that there are currently over 650 people in Ireland awaiting life-saving organ transplants including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas.

“Becoming an organ donor is a very selfless act, which allows sick people like these a chance to live healthy, fulfilling lives,” Mr Redmond added.

[Posted: Tue 05/04/2011 by Deborah Condon – www.irishhealth.com]

USI Calls on Students to Become Organ Donors

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is supporting national Organ Donation Awareness Week 2011 by urging students nationwide to sign up to become potential organ donors.  

 

As part of Organ Donor Awareness Week, which takes place from 2-9 April, stands will be set-up in colleges nationwide where students can collect organ donor cards.

Posters will be also displayed and special talks will be given on campuses nationwide to promote the benefits and importance of organ donation.

Students will be encouraged to avail of the soon-to-be-launched, new organ donor card, which will allow people to record their wishes via smart phone application.

The year 2010 saw a record fall in Irish organ donations, according to the Irish Kidney Association (IKA).

 

In 2010, there were 58 deceased organ donors, leading to 151 transplants. This represented a 35% fall in the number of donors compared with the previous year.

Some of the major teaching hospitals only saw one or two patients providing organs for the national transplant service. 

The IKA has voiced concerns that families of potential donors in hospital are not being approached because of staffing shortages and work pressures in the country’s intensive care units. 

USI is focused on raising awareness about the ongoing and increasing demand for organ donation and transplantation, and to encourage students nationwide to carry an organ donor card.

 

USI President, Gary Redmond, said:

 

It is a sad fact that, while medical science and surgical techniques have become so advanced, there are still hundreds of people on the organ transplant list. The number of organ donors in Ireland is on the decrease, and this is something that we need to change.

USI is supporting Organ Donor Awareness Week in the hope of highlighting of the importance of this organ donation among the students of Ireland. Becoming an organ donor gives you the opportunity to save the lives of others.

At the moment, there are more than 650 people in Ireland awaiting life-saving organ transplants including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas. Becoming on organ donor is a very selfless act, which allows sick people like these a chance to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Ends.

For further information, please contact:

 

Gillian Tsoi, USI Communications Officer:            01 7099300

Gary Redmond, USI President:                               087 9606130

Third level’s second class citizens

 

Children of non-EU migrants have the same rights as their Irish-born peers to primary and secondary education, but are at a disadvantage if they succeed in getting to third level, writes JAMIE SMYTH , Social Affairs Correspondent

LAIZA SUAREZ still remembers the day she got her Leaving Certificate results. She scored 425 points, enough to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. “I was really happy. It got me into nursing at UCD,” she says, in a Dublin accent that almost masks her Filipino origins.

But unlike most of her classmates at her school in Cabinteely, Suarez’s joy was tinged with worry about her mother’s ability to pay her college fees.

Her mother, Josielyn, is one of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who came to Ireland to help fuel the Celtic Tiger economy. She left the Philippines in 2002 and secured a permit to work as a housekeeper in Dublin.

The teenage Laiza followed her in 2006 and completed secondary school in 2009. As the daughter of a non-EU migrant she is ineligible for free fees or the student grants that Irish and other EU students receive. The most she can hope for is to be accepted for a reduction in full international college fees for having lived in the EU. But even that reduction is too much to bear.

“My fees are €7,260 per year and my mum is low-paid. It is a struggle,” she says, pulling out her latest UCD bill to prove her point.

Josielyn took out a bank loan to cover the first-year fees and has borrowed money from her employer to pay the second-year fees. She is working additional nights and doing some childminding to help pay off the loans.

“I’m worried my employer could cut my hours,” she says. “The children in the house are getting bigger, and I’m afraid they won’t need me so much . . . The recession is difficult for a lot of migrant workers. After nine years in Ireland paying taxes I just don’t understand why Laiza had to pay fees and all the other children in her class didn’t.”

The Suarez family’s dilemma is faced by thousands of children of non-EU nationals living and working in Ireland. Migrant workers qualify for long-term residency rights and, in some cases, for free third-level fees after five years. However, arcane Irish immigration rules do not allow these rights to be transferred to their children. Nor can the children of non-EU parents earn residency in their own right.

The children of non-EU migrants are therefore regarded as foreign students when applying for third-level courses. Children must wait until they are 16 to begin building up the five-year residency requirement to become eligible for free fees.

“Categorising these kids as foreign students means they are not eligible for student grants or free fees even if they have spent their whole lives in the Irish school system and their parents have paid taxes and contributed to the economy,” says Helen Lowry, a community-work co-ordinator at the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI). “Full international fees are hugely costly, as much as €20,000 per year in some cases. EU fees, which generally cost several thousand euro, are also a huge burden for migrants, who often work low-paid jobs.”

The decision on whether the child of a non-EU migrant pays full international fees or reduced EU fees is left to each individual college. For example, Trinity College Dublin charges EU fees if students have been resident in the EU for three of the previous five years before admission. But there is no uniform rule covering all colleges.

“There is so much paperwork to send in to prove you have been resident for several years, and at the back of your mind you worry they could charge you full fees,” says Lev Prymakov, a 20-year-old student originally from Ukraine.

Prymakov pays more than €6,000 per year to study financial and actuarial maths at Dublin City University. His mother, Olga, came to Ireland from Ukraine in 2001 to work in a fish-processing factory in Finglas. She now works at a call centre for a US multinational.

“I found it tough when I first arrived in Ireland, because I didn’t speak English. But I’ve integrated well, and most of my friends are Irish,” says Prymakov, who is looking for a part-time job to help pay his college fees.

His brother is due to complete his Leaving Certificate this summer, and Olga fears there will be no money to send him to college. “Migrants aren’t entitled to anything . . . You are third class, not like a citizen,” she says.

According to MRCI research, Ireland is out of step with many of its EU partners in its approach to integrating migrant workers through education. In Germany the children of non-EU nationals can be eligible for grants if one parent has been working there for three of the previous six years. In Denmark they are exempt from paying fees if they have a residency permit and their parents have work permits. Migrant students in Belgium can apply for a grant if they have lived with their family in the country for at least two years.

In Ireland, two attempts by the previous government to reform immigration law failed when Bills became bogged down in the Oireachtas. The new Government is promising to reform the system but has not given a date when this will happen.

It is not just the children of migrant workers who face economic exclusion from third-level education. The children of asylum seekers must also pay college fees, even when they are allowed to stay in Ireland.

Alena Bliznikova left Kazakhstan in 2001 with her parents, who claimed asylum in Ireland. They were granted leave to remain in 2005 by the minister for justice. Bliznikova became a star pupil at her secondary school, scoring 555 points in her Leaving Certificate.

“I was offered a scholarship because I had done so well. But when I submitted the application forms I was told I could not get it because I was not an Irish citizen and I hadn’t got full refugee status,” she says.

With no grant or scholarship available, Bliznikova gave up her dream of studying medicine, because the course was too expensive. She enrolled in an accountancy course at Rathmines College because it was so much cheaper than a university course, but she left after two weeks.

“I thought I could do much better at university. So I found a job and worked for two years to make money to pay the fees,” she says.

Bliznikova, who is now 21, finally enrolled at UCD to take an actuarial course in 2009. She is doing well at college, but her savings are running short already.

“My living costs are more expensive than I thought. My parents and I are struggling. If I wasn’t so focused on education I think I would have given up . . . but I don’t know if I will be able to pay for my third year. I’m worried I may have to drop out,” she says. “I feel it is unfair that I’ve been living here a decade and really want to do well and contribute to society but face this financial barrier.”

But at least she has made it to college. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of migrant children do not make it.

Cliona Hannon, director of Trinity Access Programmes (Tap), which works with schools and provides financial aid to help children from disadvantaged communities get into Trinity, says migrants tend to be among the most hard-working and ambitious students.

“In many cases we would have worked with the students and their families for years through the Tap primary and second-level outreach activities, and the idea of them having reached this academic transition point but being unable to progress for financial reasons is truly heartbreaking,” she says.

Tap currently has 15 non-EU undergraduates who are paying EU fees and five non-EU foundation-course students who will most likely have to pay EU fees next year. But many students simply can’t afford any university fees, according to Hannon. She says the access programme will consider asking Trinity to waive the fees for some students later this year. But this would not alter the fact that their residency status is unresolved and they can’t access grants, Hannon points out.

Observers warn that neglecting young migrants could mean a huge waste of potential talent that would benefit the State. A generation of migrant children could be alienated. “The people who are denied opportunity, who can’t fulfil their potential, are going to be alienated and angry,” says Prof John Mollenkopf, an expert on immigration and integration, who teaches at the City University of New York. “It does seem to me that a person who has grown up in a society, even if they lack citizenship or nationality, should be able to access the full range of educational opportunities.

“In an increasingly global world each nation benefits from having a diversity that enables it to link with other parts of the world. Migrants fully integrated into leadership of Irish society can create links with Africa, China or eastern Europe and help the economy. These children should be given a chance.”

The Irish Times – Saturday, April 2, 2011

Students of Ireland Make your Mark on 10th April

Students of Ireland Make your Mark on 10th April

Wherever you sleep overnight on Sunday April 10th is where you should be included on a census form, whether that’s in your family home, your apartment or if you are staying with a friend.

As you read this, 5,000 Census Enumerators are delivering census forms all over the country. They will be visiting every home, apartment and residence in the country making sure that each has a Census form and that the householder is happy they know how to fill it out.

The Census of Population, to give it its proper title, takes place every five years and the next one will take place on Sunday April 10th.

This is a very important time for Ireland. As a society we are faced now with making crucial decisions about our future and it is imperative that we have accurate and objective information on which to base those decisions. The Census is the most comprehensive and valuable of these information sources.

The Census will give a comprehensive picture of our social and living conditions in 2011. Only a census can provide such complete detail right down to the smallest area and the results are an essential tool for effective policy, planning and decision making purposes. It provides the knowledge so that public resources can be shared evenly across the country and to ensure that services at local level are relevant to all the people who live there.

 

As well as collecting information on the age and sex of the population, a range of  different questions relating to households and individuals are also asked such as where and what people work at, how people travel to work, school and college, languages spoken, disabilities, families, housing, education and skills and lots more. This provides information which will help identify the young population and their education needs. It provides information on education and skills at national, regional and local level which employers and prospective employers can use when making decisions about investment and jobs.

 

Census enumerators will call to collect the completed forms in the three to four weeks after Census Night. All census enumerators will be wearing clearly marked reflective jackets and will be carrying I.D.

 

The main household census form caters for up to six persons present in the household on Census night. If there are more than six people present in your household on Census night your enumerator will provide you with additional forms.

 

Everyone is counted wherever they happen to be on Census night. So, if you are staying away from home on Census night, you must complete the census form wherever you stay on that night. For example if you are a student who lives away from home in an apartment or sharing a house, you need to do the following:

 

·         If you are staying at home with your family on census night you should be included as normal in the census form

 

·         If you are staying away from your family home, please complete the census form wherever you spend the night and in replying to Question 7 “Where do you usually live?” enter your home address. You will also need to be included as an absent person in the census form that is completed in your family home under the section for ‘Absent persons who usually live in the household’ on Page 22 of the form.

 

There are 30 questions on the form which must be answered. In addition there are 11 household questions which the householder must answer relating to the household’s accommodation. If you are a student sharing accommodation with other students, you can agree between the residents who will complete this section of the form. You may need to talk to your landlord or a neighbour to find out some of the information about when the house or apartment was first built and some of the other accommodation questions.

 

The Census information is strictly confidential and will be used for statistical purposes only – this is guaranteed by law. No other Government Department or Agency has access to the identifiable information relating to individuals or households collected in the Census. The need for confidentiality is stressed in the training of census field staff and all are made fully aware of their legal obligations in this respect.

 

Various resources have been made available to assist people with filling out the census form including large print, Braille and audio versions of the form. For those whose first language is not English a translation of the census form is available in the following 21 languages: Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Estonian, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swahili, Urdu and Yoruba.

All of these resources and much more information about the census are available on the census website at www.census.ie. And of course, census enumerators will be happy to assist with answering any questions when they call to deliver and collect the form.

I would urge all students to fill in their Census form on Census night. By participating in the Census you are giving us the information we need now to understand what Ireland needs for the future.

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More students from UK seeking Irish college places

More students from UK seeking Irish college places

 

CÍAN NIHILL

WITH THIRD-LEVEL fees in England on the rise, increasing numbers of students from the UK are applying for places in Irish colleges.

According to CAO figures, there has been an 11 per cent increase in applications from the UK in comparison with the same time last year.

The jump comes after Westminster passed legislation that increased the amount a university or college could charge new undergraduate students in tuition fees.

Currently set at €3,783 (£3,290) a year, that will rise to €3,881 (£3,375) next September.

In 2012, fees will be €6,700 (£6,000) and could be as high as €10,349 (£9,000) a year for specialist courses.

The legislation sparked huge demonstrations in England last November.

Some disenchanted students now appear to be looking to Ireland for their solution, where they do not pay tuition fees.

It is a right citizens from any of the European Economic Area (EEA) countries (EU states, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland can avail of.

Therefore, a British citizen studying an undergraduate course in Ireland next September would pay a €2,000 (£1,740) student services charge, the same as their Irish classmates and almost half the cost of education in England.

Amy Lee Fowler, a second year medical student in NUI Galway, is from Derby, England, and said it would soon become more cost effective for her to be in Ireland than it would be to study at home.

“Everybody I have spoken to at home about it, unless they are really well off, are devastated,” she said.

“When the increased fees come in I think you are going to see a lot of people who want to come over here instead of paying £9,000 for uni.”

The economic appeal of Irish universities has been increased by the Scottish parliament’s move (which is aimed at protecting the position of Scots) to charge English students studying there.

In European law, an exception is made for British universities, whereby the right to a fees waiver is dependent on being a non-UK EEA (or Swiss) citizen.

Scottish universities can, therefore, charge English students a foreign student fee while continuing to not charge native students, an option that Irish institutions do not have.

As there is no cap on how many EU students that Irish universities admit, the increased number of applications is likely to lead to a similar increase in actual numbers who attend.

For 2010, the CAO had received 1,321 applications from Britain and Northern Ireland as of February 1st.

This year that figure has increased to 1,471.

The average higher education student costs the Irish State €10,000 to fund, with €2,000 of that coming from the student as of September 2011.

COST OF COLLEGE: IRELAND VS ENGLAND 

Cost of undergraduate study in England for first-time students

2010/2011 – €3,783 (£3,290)

2011/2012 – €3,881 (£3,375) 2012/2013 – €6,700 (£6,000)

Cost of undergraduate study in Republic for first-time students

2010/2011 – €1,500 (£1,300)

2011/2012 – €2,000 (£1,740)

2012/2013 – €2,000 (£1,740)

The Irish Times – Saturday, March 19, 2011

Students told they will have to emigrate

Students told they will have to emigrate

 

MANY students will have to emigrate because of the bleak employment situation in Ireland, the chairman of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) admitted yesterday.

Record numbers of graduates are coming on to the job market where the worst affected by the recession are in the 20 to 24 age group.

HEA chief John Hennessy bluntly told delegates at the Union of Students in Ireland annual conference in Dunboyne, Co Meath, that “emigration, at least for a time, will be the choice that some of you, even many of you, will have to make to gain employment or advance your careers”.

He argued strongly that higher education retains huge value in terms of success in getting jobs.

At the end of 2010, the unemployment rate among people with an honours degree, or above, was 7.1pc — exactly half the national employment rate of 14.2pc at the time.

Irish Independent – March 16 2011

Wicklow Student Redmond Re-elected as President of USI

Wicklow Student Redmond Re-elected as President of USI 

Wicklow native Gary Redmond has been re-elected as President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) at the organisation’s Annual Congress in Dunboyne, County Meath.

Delegates from across the island voted overwhelmingly in favour of Redmond’s re-election with 92% voting for Redmond. 

Prior to his election as USI President, Redmond served as President and Vice-President of UCD Students’ Union. 

USI is the national representative body of students in further and higher education. Established in 1959, USI celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009 and currently represents 450,000 students in over forty educational institutions across the island of Ireland.

Along with campaigning on behalf of students, USI represents learners on the Higher Education Authority (HEA), National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI), Higher Education Training Awards Council (HETAC) & the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB).

Speaking following his re-election USI President, Gary Redmond said:

“The last nine months have been momentous. Our response to the previous Government’s attempts to reintroduce tuition fees, cut student supports and their failure to tackle the graduate emigration crisis will go down in the history books. In November over 40,000 students from across the country marched on Government buildings, while in February over 15,000 students registered to vote and young people turned out in unprecedented numbers to have their say in Ireland’s future.  We’ve kick started a wave of student action, brought a government to its knees, and shaped the public debate on education in an unprecedented fashion.”

Redmond added: 

“The new Government brings with it a new landscape and the challenges over the next twelve months will be great. It will be essential for USI to support students’ 

unions and student officers to continue to deliver for students, whilst running a major national campaign to ensure that education remains accessible to all. Above all, we’ll need to reach out and engage with the full diversity of our membership.

 I want to say thank you to the hundreds of students and student officers who have been so supportive this year, and indeed for the support for my re-election. It goes without saying that I will continue to bring the same determination, drive and ambition that I have done through out my first term, and I will be relentless in ensuring I do the very best I can in the role. 

We should be proud of what we have achieved, and it has been an honour to be President at this time. If I have one criticism of this year, it would be that we have not been quick enough to talk about our achievements – and I hope we can pause for a moment to remedy this. 

Let’s push on to make sure we credit ourselves for what we have achieved, and ensure we work together to push USI and the student movement to the next level.”

Election results

USI has also elected its Deputy President, Welfare Officer, Equality Officer, Equality Officer and LGBT Rights Officer to serve students for the next academic year.

Gary Redmond (USI President), Re-Elected President

Colm Murphy (USI Education Officer) Elected Deputy President

Scott Ahern (Welfare Officer, UCD SU) Elected Welfare Officer

Ger Gallagher (USI Disability Rights Officer), Elected Equality Officer

Siobhan McGuire, Elected LGBT Rights Officer

The elected candidates begin their new terms of office on 1st July 2011

 -ENDS-

 For more information contact:

Gary Redmond, USI President (087 9606130)

Undergraduate Awards 2011

The Undergraduate Awards is an all-island awards programme recognising and encouraging excellence at the undergraduatelevel in Ireland.
Founded in 2008, the awards are open to all final and penultimate year students enrolled in a degree course in any third level

institution on the island of Ireland. Submissions are drawn from the outstanding essays, projects and papers produced as a

normal part of coursework.

See link below for further details:

http://www.itssu.ie/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Undergraduate-Awards-Review-2010.pdf

Seoul Gaels

The spectre of emigration once again haunts Ireland, this year the Central Statistics Office estimate that upwards of 500,000 people are set to emigrate.

While the old hot spots of the American east coast, Canada and London are once again filling up with the sound of Irish accents, you may find it surprising to hear that Seoul, South Korea also has a thriving Irish community.

 With a population of 10 million, Seoul is one of Asia’s largest metropolitan cities. While a city with a population that dwarfs that of the whole of Ireland may appear daunting, it is in fact its sheer size which makes it so appealing. 

The cultural switch is made easier when you realise that everything considered ‘western’ is readily available in Seoul, though it’s far more interesting to stick to the quintessentially Korean ways of living, such as eating on the floor of a local restaurant, slurping up noodle soup with chopsticks or crooning away old to 80s tunes with friends at a local Noorebong- one of the many small karaoke rooms dotted around the city.

For many people who have come to live and work in Seoul, particularly Irish, have settled in very well because they have found a home away from home. This sense of familiarity and comfort comes from Seoul Gaels GAA Club and all of its members.

Virtually every town and village around Ireland has a GAA club. It bridges divides, brings communities together and can form bonds which can last a lifetime. Togetherness is definitely something that can be felt amongst and experienced by club members in Seoul Gales a dtagann “Ó gach chearn den domhain”. GAA in Seoul promotes a sense of inclusiveness where everyone is welcome, no matter where you come from or whether you’ve played football before!

Seoul Gaels members not only form a strong bond with each other but with many other players from different clubs all around Asia during competitions like The Asian Games. There are now GAA clubs in Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and those are just some to name a few. Every year big and small competitions are organised bringing a large number of GAA followers together to experience what they love most.

When one usually conceives of the idea of emigration, it is thought of in negative terms, of leaving ones homeland and the unknown. However working and living in South Korea, and being part of the large network of friendly and helpful Irish and non-Irish members of the Seoul Gaels football club, is a rich and rewarding experience, where many fond memories can be created.

 For further information, please contact us:

Email: seoulgaels@gmail.com

Websitewww.seoulgaels.com

“Lost Generation Must Be Top Priority For New Government” – USI

“Lost Generation Must Be Top Priority For New Government” – USI

The Union of Student in Ireland (USI) has warned that the “lost generation” of young people, who are emigrating in droves every week, must be prioritized by the new government. 

Approximately 1,000 people are being forced to leave Ireland every week due to lack of employment opportunities. This emigration crisis must be tackled aggressively by the incoming government.

The majority of the “lost generation” are highly qualified, educated young people that may never return to our shores.

It is important that the necessary action be taken to ensure that our graduates are employed in Ireland and not exported to the benefit of rival economies. These graduates must be given the opportunity to contribute to the salvaging of Ireland’s economy.

USI will continue to campaign to ensure that graduate unemployment and emigration is at the forefront of the new government’s agenda.

USI President, Gary Redmond, said:

“A failure by the new government to introduce initiatives to combat Ireland’s current jobs crisis will spurn the further exodus of graduates to the benefit of rival economies.

The devastating jobs crisis in this country is forcing the future drivers of our ‘smart economy’ to flee the country. Thousands of valuable graduates have already left Irish shores and many thousands are set to follow.

Ireland’s young people are anxious to be given the opportunity to rebuild Ireland’s economy, and contribute to the future prosperity of this island.

Our highly skilled graduates currently have two options when they leave college: emigrate or join the dole queue. The incoming government must implement initiatives 

that will ensure Ireland’s youth are not forced to emigrate to the benefit of the US, Canada and Australia.”

Ends.

‘Third Level Fees must be a Red Line Issue in Government Negotiations’ – USI

‘Third Level Fees must be a Red Line Issue in Government Negotiations’ – USI 

The Union of Student in Ireland (USI) has warned that third level fees must be a red line issue during Government negotiations ahead of the inception of the 31st Dáil. 

In the run up to the general election, Labour Party signed a USI pledge stating “if elected, I will oppose and campaign against any new form of third level fees including student loans, graduate taxes and any further increase in the Student Contribution”.

These commitments must be honored if Ireland is to have any chance of emerging from the current economic crisis.

In the UK, the Liberal Democrats are suffering the consequences of reneging on clear promises made about education. The students of Ireland will similarly not forget if the Labour Party fails to fulfill its promises.

USI is committed to fighting for the preservation of Ireland’s Higher Education system, so that people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to attend Third Level in the future. 

USI President, Gary Redmond, said:

“Higher Education, and the up-skilling of the people of Ireland, must be a priority for the future Government of this country. Any introduction of third level fees, whether it is in the form of a graduate tax or student loan system, will only discourage thousands of people from entering college.

Now that the election is over and the business of forming a government is underway, all Labour Party TDs must not forget the promises which were made during their General Election campaign. Many students, and others who care about education, were influenced by your party’s commitments to education. Across the Irish Sea, the Liberal Democrats have faced huge slumps in opinion after reneging on key election promise.

The incoming government must ensure that access to education is increased, so that young people are given the opportunity to gain the necessary skills to build a better life for themselves and to play a part in the recovery of Ireland’s economy.

Ends.

Politics popular with youth: poll

DESPITE talk of disillusionment with politics among young people, a poll suggests that just 6% will not use their vote in tomorrow’s election. The SpunOut.ie Big Online Election Poll found 2% propose to vote but spoil their vote, another 2% will not vote but concentrate on ‘bottom-up social change’ and a further 2% won’t vote because they are “not bothered”. 

The poll found younger, tech-savvy Irish people’s voting preferences are very different to those demonstrated by recent opinion polls, with Sinn Féin selected as their preferred party by 32% of voters. 

The mainstream political parties scored poorly, with Fine Gael and Labour on 16% and 17% and Fianna Fáil trailing at an all-time low of 6%. An interesting contrast is that of the newly formed United Left Alliance who, despite not fielding candidates in many constituencies, polled higher than Fianna Fáil with 8% of votes. 

The Green Party came in at 3%, which challenges claims that it has strong support among younger people, perhaps due to its participation in a government that has left record youth unemployment, emigration and college fees as a legacy. 

Commenting on the results, SpunOut.ie founder Ruairí McKiernan said young people are increasingly engaged in Irish politics. 

“Our poll suggests that the youth vote may be key to understanding the future of Irish politics. 

“Ireland has one of the highest populations of young people in Europe who are disproportionately affected by shamefully high unemployment and emigration rates. 

“They are increasingly engaged, angry and active and are without a doubt set to break away from traditional voting patterns which will ensure the beginning of a new era in Irish politics,” he said. 

By Conall Ó Fátharta

www.irishexaminer.ie – 24/02/2011

USI Welcomes Labour’s Commitment to Scrapping PLC Reg Fee and Reducing Student Service Charge

Press Release 

17th February 2011

 For immediate release:

 

USI Welcomes Labour’s Commitment to Scrapping PLC Reg Fee and Reducing Student Service Charge

The Union of Students in Ireland has welcomed the Labour Party’s commitment to abolish the €200 registration fee for Post Leaving Certificate courses, and to reducing the student services charge back to €1,500, if they are in Government after the election.

The current Government renamed the Student Services Charge to Student Contribution and increased it by €500 in Budget 2011 thus re-introducing third level fees by the back door. This decision represented a retrograde step for Irish education, with the potential of denying thousands of students in Ireland access to a third level education.

At a time when employment prospects are bleak, the incoming Government needs to increase access to education to enable young people to gain the skills necessary to build a better life for themselves and to contribute to the recovery of Ireland’s economy.

The elimination of the €200 registration fee for PLC courses by the newly elected Government would make further education a real prospect for thousands of potential students nationwide. It would also encourage more people to acquire further training and skills. 

USI is committed to fighting for the preservation of Ireland’s Higher Education system, so that people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to attend Third Level in the future. 

USI President, Gary Redmond, said:

“It is vital that the future Government makes Higher Education, and the up-skilling of the people of Ireland, a priority. The increase to student registration fees made in last year’s Budget was a nonsensical decision, which put third level education beyond the reach of thousands of vulnerable and struggling families across Ireland.

At a time when Ireland’s economy is in dire straits, we must not erect any more barriers to Higher Education for the disadvantaged families nationwide. We must invest in the future of the country, and that means investing in education.” 

Ends.

IT Factor

The IT Factor is a nationwide song contest, open to all full time registered students at Institutes of Technology in Ireland.  The IT Sligo heat-of the competition takes place on Monday 21st of February, in Shenanigans, Bridge St. Sligo at 8:00pm. On the night, singers and bands will be invited to battle against one another to be selected to represent IT Sligo at the National IT Factor competition taking place this year in Limerick IT, on March 10th. The overall winner of IT Factor will receive two days in a professional recording studio (SARMAR, Limerick).

The competition consists of both an original and covers section, bands and solo artists are all welcome. Applicants are entitled to enter both categories. (One song per category). A piano and a drum kit will be provided for use and pre-recorded backing tracks are not allowed.

So if you’re an IT Sligo student and you think you, or someone you know has the IT factor get down to IT Sligo canteen, Tuesday 15th to Friday 18th February, between 1-2pm to sign up for the competition, and don’t forget to come along for a great nights entertainment!

For more information check us out on Facebook at IT Sligo Factor or call Niamh on 087 6122617.

IT Sligo Affinity Card

Free, fully comprehensive, multi-trip travel insurance to the value of €150 when you sign up for an IT Sligo Affinity Card (from Jan – 31st March 2011). 

Bank of Ireland will make a donation to IT Sligo when you sign up for an IT Sligo Affinity Card. They will also donate a percentage of the annual expenditure on your card – all at no extra cost to you.

In addition, you gain all the benefits of a leading credit card, which can be used at 24 million outlets worldwide.

Please talk to Roseanne or Gillian at Bank of Ireland, IT Sligo, Tel. No. 071 91 43373

Students need to understand regulations

 

 

Education: Students need to understand the importance of effective regulations, appropriate rules and ethical frameworks, writes ANTO KERINS 

IN THE SEARCH for solutions to our economic difficulties, a common recommendation is that we should improve our knowledge, innovation, technology and skills in order to recover.

However, the economic meltdown was more than a technical event – it was a human event, involving a whole range of decisions. These decisions provided the opportunity for caution, sound judgment, responsibility and honesty. But they also provided the opportunity for the opposite.

Many of the inadvisable, reckless or dishonest decisions made in the higher echelons of the property and banking sectors were made by, or with the agreement of, people with high-quality degrees.

Ireland’s meltdown could be attributed to a number of factors, and although higher education has not been mentioned, it is worth considering.

The Hunt Report on higher education makes no reference to the need to provide students with an appreciation of such things as ethical behaviour in work, regulatory frameworks and corporate responsibility.

Corporate crime can inflict far more damage on society than street crime. Now we can go one stage further and say that corporate misjudgments and irresponsibility have put one small country under the close care and attention of the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank.

Hunt’s emphasis on knowledge, innovation, skills and technology are to be commended. However, even if we improve these things and recover economically, there is nothing to stop us falling down again.

In most of the world’s advanced countries of the world, higher education focuses on knowledge. All except two of the top 15 North American universities refer to knowledge in their mission statements, without making any substantive reference to values or ethics. The top 15 in Europe are the same. In addition, Germany, the UK and France have each embarked on modernising their higher education systems – so Hunt’s emphasis is in line with the general order of things. However, there is more to this than meets the eye.

The former director general of Unesco has noted that some of the pilots who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks were university graduates and said: “Knowledge by itself . . . is not enough – many terrorists, after all, are educated.”

Knowledge, technique, skills and innovation alone are inadequate. If we provide these things without some sense of value, we offer a stunted learning experience. Ignoring value and responsibility does students a disservice.

How might ethical and regulatory concerns impact on higher education? First, universities could integrate them into their mission statements. Then they could consider how best to implement such statements. For example, universities could require every programme to include a module on the nature and importance of regulatory and ethical frameworks for the survival and wellbeing of work organisations.

In addition, business, management and related disciplines could include more effective regulatory and business ethics material in their curricula.

Most business schools teach very little on the topic of ethics, and some are adverse to it. One economist said “we are here to teach science”, and another asked: “Whose ethics, what values, are we going to teach?”

However, everything we teach has implicit value. Knowledge does not exist in a vacuum, and providing one type of knowledge over another is itself a value statement.

A lot of people talk about the knowledge economy. This is undoubtedly important, and the more advanced and effective the knowledge, the better. Nevertheless, values and ethics are important to help us filter and interpret knowledge and proper regulatory frameworks and protocols will help safeguard our advanced organisations.

What is the benefit of being able to produce thousands of advanced products without a substantive interest in their value and safety and without a regulatory and value framework that enables us to benefit from their proper use?

Students need to understand the importance of effective regulations, appropriate rules and ethical frameworks to guide organisational behaviour.

From producing graduates who absorbed the mantra of deregulation and light-touch rules, we must now imbue them with an appreciation of the importance of ethical and regulatory frameworks and the ability to distinguish between rules that keep us safe, solvent and effective – and those that just take up time.

Although higher education may be uncomfortable with looking closely at these values and the related regulatory frameworks, we ignore them at our peril, as Ireland recently discovered.

We should follow the Hunt Report by developing a strategy to help us incorporate these activities into higher education. This will ensure our graduates have not just the knowledge, skills and innovative capacity to do their job, but also the knowledge of and enthusiasm for regulatory frameworks, corporate responsibility and ethical behaviour that will help keep our organisations safe and effective.

Anto Kerins is a lecturer in Dublin Institute of Technology and author of An Adventure in Service-Learning: Developing Knowledge, Values and Responsibility 

The Irish Times – Friday, January 28, 2011

Education ‘standing still’ due to cutbacks

 

FIONA GARTLAND

SCHOOLS: CUTS IN education “made no sense” and will end up costing money, the chief executive of Educate Together has said.

Speaking in advance of the launch of the multi-denominational school patrons’ Five Priorities for our Education System, Paul Rowe also said reduced investment in education meant Ireland was “standing still while other economies are sprinting ahead”.

Educate Together was established in the mid-1970s and now has 58 schools across the State.

Its five priorities for a new government include that multi-denominational education should be available to all children; that education budgets should be protected and fully spent; and that Educate Together secondary schools should be established.

It has also said prefabs that are “expensive to lease, heat and maintain”, should be phased out and replaced with permanent schools, which would also provide jobs and get builders “off the dole”.

Cuts to classroom supports and services should be reversed. Mr Rowe said the cuts made in education services made little sense and would cost money over time.

“This is particularly true of the budget reductions for special needs, English language, Traveller community and educational psychology supports,” he said.

“These services benefit not only the child they support, but the class environment as a whole. Their removal creates real problems on our overly full classrooms.” He said prioritising the organisation’s policies would benefit every child.

Although expenditure in education had increased in the Celtic Tiger years, it had contracted to the point where even allocated funds were not being spent.

“This has serious consequences for our education system as our population is growing,” he said.

“In real terms investment in Ireland is well behind where it should be and Ireland has far less of a claim to the land of saints and scholars title than previous governments would have you believe.”

The Irish Times – Monday, February 7, 2011

Conference on Irish Political Reform at IT Sligo

 

A half day conference entitled ‘Women and Men in Irish Politics – let’s re-imagine Irish Political Culture’ will be held at IT Sligo next Friday, February 11th.

Guest speakers at the Conference include Queens University Belfast Politics Professor and Director at the Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics, Yvonne Galligan, Marian Harkin MEP and IT Sligo Politics and Social Policy lecturer, John Pender.

All the general election candidates in Sligo/North Leitrim are also invited to attend and address the Conference and take part in a question and answer session.

The Conference is being organised by 2nd and 3rd Bachelor of Business in Marketing students as part of their European Studies module.

The Conference will include workshops on the subjects of Dáil Reform, Quotas for Women, Leadership in Irish politics and ‘Cronyism, Corruption, and Clientelism’.

Lecturer in European Studies at IT Sligo, Joan Morrison said that the Conference is open to the public to attend and she is encouraging people to take part in this timely debate on Irish politics; “Poll after poll shows that we are suffering from great apathy towards politics in Ireland at the moment and, with the General Election now imminent, this is a very opportune time to discuss what direction people want politics to take.

“In the last Eurobarometer Poll, Ireland had almost the lowest level of public trust in political institutions across 28 European countries surveyed and this trend is very worrying. Can we afford such indifference in these difficult times?” she said.

The Conference will start at 9am next Friday February 11 and will conclude before lunchtime.  It is free and open to all members of the public to attend. For more details see www.itsligo.ie

ENDS

UCC hosts disability awareness week

 

Disability Awareness Week to increase awareness of challenges faced by disabled in Ireland

UCC Students Union has this week launched its disability awareness week, it’s first ever official week dedicated to increasing awareness of the challenges disabled students face on campus.

A wheelchair basketball match got underway in the Mardyke Arena half an hour ago, while a talk on the “Impact of disability laws on the third level education sector in Ireland” will take

place Thursday evening.

UCC Students’ Union’s Disability Rights Officer Antonia Virovska said that the Students Union was ‘delighted to have organised this week as we believe that the issue of disability in its various forms is something that needs to be discussed more openly. With this week, we hope to increase awareness around this issue. ’

www.corkstudentnews.com – Feb 1 2011 

ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE???

Come along and register next Monday 31st January in the canteen from 1pm-5pm. The Union of Students in Ireland will be on campus with local Gardai and your local SU to get you registered so you can use your vote wisely in the upcoming general election.

Labour sets out plan for better levels of literacy

EITHNE DONNELLAN, Health Correspondent

A PLAN published by the Labour Party yesterday proposes to make it mandatory for primary schools to spend a specific amount of time each day on improving literacy levels among pupils.

Under the plan, which the party says will be incorporated into any programme for government in which it is involved, regular primary schools will have to devote a minimum of 90 minutes of class time to literacy instruction each day. Disadvantaged primary schools will be required to teach literacy for 120 to 180 minutes a day.

“If schools are not delivering improved literacy results, consideration will be given to extending the primary school day by half an hour in those schools, to allow for an extension of the time available to teaching literacy,” its policy document Reading as a Right states.

It envisages each primary school having a literacy plan with target outcomes for class groups and “a comprehensive, regularised and universal pre-school year” for all children.

Each secondary school will also have to draw up a plan to improve literacy levels. Responsibility for improving literacy in each school will be vested in the principal.

Literacy summer camps would also be provided in disadvantaged areas while whole community literacy projects would be initiated to target literacy “blackspots”.

Labour’s education spokesman Ruairí Quinn said no child should leave school unable to read and write, yet every year thousands do.

He said child literacy rates in Ireland had not improved since 1980 despite more investment and smaller classes. “One in 10 primary school children – that is 50,000 pupils – has serious literacy difficulties. Radical action to break this plateau is long overdue.”

An OECD skills survey from 2009 found almost one in six Irish 15-year-olds did not have the literacy skills to cope with further education or the demands of today’s workplace, Mr Quinn added.

“Literacy is the foundation on which education is built. If we don’t get that right, all of our subsequent investment in education is compromised.”

Young people with poor literacy levels are more likely to leave school early, experience poverty, be unemployed and to encounter the criminal justice system.

The Irish Times – Monday, January 24, 2011

Lecturers protest over Croke Park deal

 

JOANNE HUNT

MORE THAN 200 university and institute of technology lecturers met in Dublin on Saturday to protest against the implementation of the Croke Park agreement in third-level institutions.

The group, which met in the Gresham Hotel, is seeking to protect the right of academics to permanency and tenure until retirement age. They said this “bedrock on which academic freedom rests” was under threat.

The Croke Park deal, along with the Hunt report on higher education, proposes longer working hours and shorter holidays, tighter management control and performance-related pay.

They also open up the possibility that academics deemed to be substandard by management could be sacked.

Addressing the meeting, the organiser of the event, former president of the Teachers Union of Ireland and physics lecturer Paddy Healy, said academic freedom and tenure were not just “a ruse invented by academics to protect their employment” but were essential to ensuring that lecturers “cannot be dismissed for the expression of unpopular ideas”.

Mr Healy said that the right to permanency and tenure enabled academics to pursue “blue sky research” and the study of specialised subjects that would now be deprived of funds in favour of more commercially driven research.

Tom Garvin, emeritus professor of politics at UCD, was critical of what he described as the “thick layer of management” in third-level institutions. Prof Garvin said that in the past five years, Irish universities had been “enveloped in a great brown tide of nonsense on stilts, purveyed by overpaid and under-qualified presidents, provosts, registrars and vice-presidents” of everything, including football fields.

Ireland “went from a condition in which no connection was seen between education and economic development in 1950 to a condition in 2011 when it is believed that education has no other purpose than to further economic development”.

Former Trinity College lecturer Senator David Norris told the meeting that he was there “in solidarity to show that I am with you”.

Mr Norris said that while he agreed with “free universal education for those for whom it was appropriate . . . university education must be more than just a numbers game.”

In his address, former taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald urged academics to “be concerned with the restoring of genuinely academic issues, leaving to the unions the business of pay and conditions”.

He added: “If we are to be successful in defending academic standards, it has to be done in a way that is visibly not self-interested, not concerned about pay and conditions but concerned about genuine academic freedom, about research standards and about the real academic issues.”

It is understood that the governing authorities of universities, including UCD, UCG, UCC, have already circulated implementation plans under the Croke Park deal and that a separate document has been issued to the institutes of technology.

Mr Healy said it was not clear whether the governing bodies of universities planned to consult unions but “the heads of schools in UCD have been told they have to implement the plans forthwith”.

The meeting agreed to launch a petition calling on the governing authorities of all academic institutions to make a declaration in favour of academic freedom and to remove all threats to tenure and permanency to retirement age.

The Irish Times – Monday, January 24, 2011

Women still await senior academic roles

OLIVIA KELLEHER

THE APPOINTMENT of the first female professor at an Irish university just over 100 years ago was a significant achievement – but in the years that followed far fewer women than anticipated took up senior academic posts, a conference at University College Cork (UCC) heard over the weekend.

In 1910, when Mary Ryan was appointed to the professorship of romance languages at UCC, thereby becoming the first woman professor in these islands, women had to wait another eight years before gaining even limited voting rights in this country.

Prof Grace Neville, vice-president for teaching and learning at UCC, said it would be gratifying to be able to say Ryan’s appointment was the beginning of a trend – that universities across the globe would by now be appointing women professors in such numbers as to make the appointment of any one of them quite unremarkable. However, she said, the appointment of women had not happened – in universities, in business or in public life.

Prof Neville told a Mary Ryan Symposium in Cork on Saturday that in public life the story was no different: the percentage of women in the Dáil had plateaued at 13 per cent.

Ireland ranks 59th out of 120 countries when it comes to parliamentary representation by women, lower than the US, European and Asian average, and on a par with sub-Saharan Africa.

Prof Pat O’Connor of the department of sociology at the University of Limerick, said it was worth noting the differential between men’s and women’s chances of promotion to professorial level in Ireland was one of the worst in Europe, with EU research showing men in Ireland were at least five times more likely than women to obtain a full professorship.

The Irish Times – Monday, January 24, 2011

Hunt fails to deliver on great expectations

Minister for Education Mary Coughlan and Dr Colin HuntPhotograph: David Sleator

 

LEFTFIELD: There are some valuable recommendations, but the National Strategy for Higher Education is sorely lacking in a coherent, accessible vision, writes FERDINAND VON PRONDZYNSKI 

IT SEEMS LIKE HALF a lifetime ago since Mary Hanafin, then minister for education and science, announced early in 2008 that she was thinking of setting up a strategic review of higher education. A year or so later, in February 2009, another minister for education, Batt O’Keeffe, established the strategy group chaired by Dr Colin Hunt, and gave them until Christmas of that year to report.

Two Christmases and another minister later, Mary Coughlan launched the final report last week, before confirming that it will take at least one more Minister to begin the implementation (or not) of many of its key findings. By the time this is over, there will have been more ministers involved in this process than the strategy group had members.

The body of the report runs to 122 pages, with another few added for appendices, and a rather curious page headed “implementation” that contains just two paragraphs reading more like a philosophical exhortation than a plan.

After an executive summary and some scene setting, the body of the report is split into two parts.

The first of these addresses what it calls the “mission” of higher education, by which it means the actual educational, research and outreach activities of universities and colleges.

The second part considers “governance, structure and funding”. It seems to me that the real focus of the report is on the second part. Ironically, the first part contains some findings and recommendations of real value, while the second part is disappointing.

For the past two or so years we had been told repeatedly by government that the Hunt report would provide a mission and direction for higher education, and so it was logical that one would look to it first to provide a clear strategic vision. As some early reviews of the report have already pointed out, this is where the problems start. The report does have a page headed The Vision for Higher Education in Ireland , but it is very hard to discern anything very original in it. It is really just saying that higher education will do lots of good things in an excellent manner; it is very much motherhood and apple pie, rather than inspired insights into pedagogy or scholarship, or even what society expects or needs in this changing world from an academic community.

Nevertheless, the “higher level objectives” that follow do reveal something of the group’s approach. Taken together, these present a picture of a higher education system that needs to be more “coherent” and “accountable” and work to national policy objectives. In other words, the strategy group focused on the governance and strategic coordination of the system rather than its intellectual value.

As might have been expected, much of the early public attention has been on what the Hunt group has said about funding and tuition fees. In summary, it confirms that significant additional resources will be needed to ensure sustainability for the sector at a time of a serious growth in capacity; and it recommends that student contributions will need to form part of the solution to this problem as the taxpayer cannot afford to pay the bill alone.

However, I don’t regard this as a significant part of the report, because, frankly, this will be a matter for the political system after the general election. Indeed, the group recognises that a separate process must take place to take the funding issue further. What Hunt says will serve to confirm what lots of others have said before, but it won’t of itself change anything.

So what is significant in the report? On the positive side, I think there are valuable recommendations in the chapter on teaching and learning. I would in particular support the idea that the student voice needs to be heard more in course planning and, critically, evaluation. I would also back the group in its views and recommendations on the first-year student experience, a period during which a student’s potential is greatest but the risk of drop-out is also higher.

I am far less persuaded by the group’s comments and recommendations on governance and structure. Yes, there are some recommendations that make sense, but overall the main thrust of this part of the report is that the universities and colleges need to be rationalised and controlled to a greater extent, aligning with a government- determined higher education focus applied to institutions by the HEA. The group affirms institutional autonomy, but then makes it clear that it understands autonomy to relate to freedom of managerial action rather than strategic decision-making.

In adopting this view, it is going against all the available evidence. Right now the German government, for example, is significantly increasing strategic autonomy for its universities, taking the view that the German underperformance in global rankings is connected with a lack of strategic autonomy for individual universities. I would not deny that the group’s concerns on the cohesion of the sector have some merit, but the solution to this is not a new layer of bureaucratisation.

So, what do I think of the Hunt report? Well, it does have valuable recommendations and some interesting insights. But if its role was to create a coherent and accessible vision that will drive both government and higher education institutions and allow Ireland to be recognised as a centre of academic and scholarly excellence, then I don’t believe it has fully met expectations.

There is more work to be done.


Ferdinand von Prondzynski is a former president of DCU.

The Irish Times – Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brave new world: the graduate’s guide to scholarships abroad

Graduates are leaving Ireland in their droves, some to find work but others are exploring the huge range of scholarship options open to them, writes PETER McGUIRE 

ONCE AGAIN, DISTANT shores are luring Irish graduates. The push factors are wearily obvious: lack of employment opportunities at home and the increased competition for dwindling postgraduate scholarship funds. The pull factors, however, are perhaps even stronger: opportunities to explore another country, meet international researchers, secure a prestigious scholarship award, and gain experience and employment opportunities abroad.

Graduates considering a move will be faced with a rather surprising problem: finding the right scholarship, fellowship, or internship among the thousands on offer.

There’s an almost limitless range, covering every possible subject area, including science, humanities, law, art, drama, sport, and medicine plus students can tackle them in English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, or opt to learn a new language in far-flung destinations such as Argentina or Japan. Embassies and overseas third-level institutions, as well as various funding organisations, can provide further details.

A comprehensive list of international scholarships can be found on the International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search (iefa.org).

FULBRIGHT SCHOLARSHIPS 

The most prestigious and well-known scholarship for postgraduate study in the United States, the 2012-2013 competition will open for Irish students in September 2011.

Fulbright is open to scholars from all academic disciplines, who intend to enroll on a US Masters/PhD programme or conduct independent research as part of an Irish or European PhD programme. The award includes up to $25,000 plus insurance, a J-1 visa and the programme is for between six and 12 months of postgraduate study or research in the US. This year, 23 Fulbright scholarships were offered to Irish applicants. Fulbright also offers two awards for postgraduates, academics or professionals working through the Irish language in the US. For more information, see fulbright.ie

ROTARY SCHOLARSHIPS 

The Rotary Foundation’s Ambassadorial Scholarships provide funding for year-long scholarships abroad, covering a range of subjects. Irish scholars would be expected to serve as goodwill ambassadors to their host country and give presentations about Ireland to Rotary clubs and other groups. In 2009, the organisation distributed approximately $16.2 million to nearly 700 recipients.

rotary.org/studentsandyouth

INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION 

The IIE, a private, non-profit organisation dedicated to the international exchange of people and ideas, runs 20 international scholarship programmes for Irish students. These include:

– Acumen Fund Fellows Programme: a one-year programme focused on the development of leadership and social enterprise. Participants will use their operational and financial skills to create solutions to global poverty.

– KAUST Fellowships: offered by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, the fellowships are offered to science, engineering and technology students who wish to pursue graduate study at the Jeddah-based institution.

– Alcoa Foundation’s Conservation and Sustainability Fellowship Programme: scholarships, grants, and fellowships offered across the world. The programme connects scholars with NGOs and the business community to develop practical solutions to environmental sustainability issues.

– The Russell Berrie Fellowship Programme: open to priests and laity carrying out research on inter-faith issues, leading to a license or doctoral degree with a concentration on Inter-religious Studies at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas. Deadline: March 18th, 2011

– The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre: offers a residency for scholars and creative artists to attend the centre at Lake Como, Italy, between February 1st and mid-August 2011. Application process opens in March. The programme offers a serene setting for artists, policymakers, scholars, and thinkers to meet, develop connections, and focus on their area of interest in a scenic and serene setting.

For more information see iie.org

ERASMUS MUNDUS 

This programme provides scholarship funding on programmes offered by a consortia of higher education institutes which operate in at least two European countries. The programme covers all subject areas. Current research opportunities include places on:

– EMARO, the European Master on Advanced Robotics: an integrated Masters course conducted by three Asian and three European institutions, including the Warsaw University of Technology, Ecole Centrale de Nantes, and the Faculty of Science and Technology in Keio University, Japan.

– Global Studies, A European Perspective: an interdisciplinary Masters offered by five European universities in collaboration with six non-European partners.

– GLITEMA (German Literature in the European Middle Ages): an integrated Masters course run by three European universities and supported by 12 global higher education partners.

– European doctorate in Law and Economics (EDLE): offered by the universities of Hamburg, Rotterdam and Bologna, with the collaboration of the Indira Ghandi Institute of Development Research in Mumbai, India. This course provides the chance to study law and economics at PhD level in at least three different countries.

– International Relativistic Astrophysics PhD: joint doctorate programme involving universities from Europe and Asia, including Stockholm, Berlin and Rome, as well as observatories in India, China, and Estonia.

– for more information see eacea.ec.europa.eu/erasmus_mundus

GOVERNMENT SCHOLARSHIPS 

Many countries reserve scholarship places for Irish postgraduate students. Application is conducted through the country’s Irish embassy. These include Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, and Turkey. Details and application for Finland can be found at finland.cimo.fi/studying, for France at the French Cultural Service (Tel: 01-6762197), and for Italy at the Italian Cultural Institute (Tel: 01-6620509). For all other countries, contact the relevant embassy in Ireland.

SPORTS SCHOLARSHIPS 

Many third-level institutions offer undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships to students with a proven track record in soccer, athletics, rugby, swimming or other sports. In return, the student is expected to represent their college in the chosen sport. The organisation pass4soccer offers a soccer scholarship consultancy service (pass4soccer.com).

OTHER THIRD-LEVEL SCHOLARSHIPS 

Third-level institutions worldwide offer scholarships and fellowships for international applicants. Students considering a Masters or Doctoral degree programme should begin by exploring which universities offer courses of interest. Log on to their website and see if they provide scholarships. Popular options for Irish postgraduates include the University of Wellington Victoria PhD Scholarships (New Zealand), the Utrecht University Excellence Scholarships (The Netherlands), and University of Edinburgh Scholarships (Scotland).


The Irish Times , in association with the organisation learnabroad.ie has just published the first comprehensive guide for school-leavers investigating the opportunities for studying abroad: Irish Times Study Abroad Guide For School Leavers

GOING FAR: TWO SCHOLARSHIP STUDENTS 
 

PROFILE 

CIARA THORNE 

Subject to one final round of official confirmation, Ciara Thorne is due to commence the Government of Japan’s Monbukagakusho Scholarship later this year. She has a Bachelor of Arts from UCD.

“I taught English in Japan a few years ago and I’d always wanted to go back. I heard about the Japanese Government Scholarships through other Irish ex-pats in Japan and it seemed like a brilliant opportunity to combine two passions: education and travel.

The interviews took place at the Japanese Embassy in Dublin, and there were three applicants competing for two places. Japan offers a number of places to every country based on its population, so the United Kingdom or Germany would be awarded more places. I increased my chances by writing to find a supervisor in advance.

You can study any subject area, in any university, as long as it is related to Japan or could only be studied in Japan. I’m going to do a research project on Japanese literature at the University of Hokkaido, which can be transformed into a Masters after 18 months if I wish. But my main motivation is to study abroad and develop my language skills. I’ll spend six months on an intensive language immersion course that will be vital if I’m going to read Japanese literature.

For me, the recession wasn’t a factor in going to Japan. I’d already lived abroad and travelled extensively so this simply seemed like a good option for me. It’s a well-financed scholarship and it will allow me to live reasonably well. I won’t be in luxury but itll be far from penury too.”

PROFILE 

SANDRA DOHERTY 

Sandra Doherty is enrolled on a PhD in Marine Biology and holds a Victoria Doctoral Assistantship at the University of Wellington, New Zealand.

She is studying invasive mussel species in New Zealand waters – a subject with implications for biosecurity and conservation. “Id just finished my Masters at GMIT in 2008 and was hoping to convert to a PhD. Then the economy nose-dived and it became harder to get funding. Job opportunities in marine science were few and far between.

I had a clear choice: stay in Ireland and change careers, look abroad to stay in my field, or go on the dole. I left.

I looked into where there were other researchers working in my field, and what universities were carrying out research of interest to me. Wellington University jumped out at me, and luckily they have a scholarship programme for international students.

As an academic researcher – particularly from a small country like Ireland – it’s a good idea to gain experience in another country.

There are lots of postgraduate scholarship opportunities for Irish people abroad, and I notice a lot of international students here in New Zealand.

The research is going well, and I’m at the point I want to be at. I hope to stay in New Zealand with my husband and we have applied for residency.

I can’t see any major opportunities in Ireland for the next decade.”

The Irish Times – Tuesday, January 18, 2011

‘Concern’ at lower maths and literacy rankings

THE SECRETARY general of the Department of Education Brigid McManus said Ireland’s drop in OECD maths and literacy rankings was a “matter of serious concern” but questioned the findings of the international study, an Oireachtas committee heard.

The Oireachtas Committee on Education met department officials yesterday to discuss results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa).

It showed a sharp fall in Ireland’s OECD maths and literacy ranking. On reading levels among 15-year-olds, Ireland slipped from fifth place in 2000 to 17th place, while in maths Ireland fell from 16th to 26th.

Ms McManus said the findings were “very disappointing” and the literacy results were a “huge shock”. The findings “have been and continue to be treated as a matter of serious concern by the department”.

However, she said a review of the data had made the department aware of the caution it must treat the results with “because of significant limitations in design and underlying methodology used by Pisa”.

The review was carried out by the Education Research Centre in Drumcondra, Dublin, and Statistics Canada after the preliminary results of the Pisa study were known by the department in July. They concluded that the Pisa techniques have overestimated the size of the decline, she said.

Ms McManus said they cautioned against reading too much into one single set of results and other evidence on literacy standards did not corroborate the Pisa findings.

“Nevertheless the department is of the view that it would be unwise to ignore the possibility that there may have been some decline in actual standards of literacy and numeracy among Irish students.”

Fine Gael education spokesman Fergus O’Dowd TD said he was very unhappy with the response from the department, including the use of language like “unwise”. He described the results as a “shame and disgrace”.

Ms McManus said this was “not at all an attempt to whitewash or disassemble it” and it was a “valid question to ask” was there a problem.

But she added: “Few education systems have ever experienced actual changes in educational standards of the scale reported for Ireland for 2009.”

Labour education spokesman Ruairí Quinn TD asked if it was time to reconsider the time devoted to religion and Irish in order to concentrate on literacy and numeracy.

The Irish Times – Friday, January 14, 2011

Report delay shows ‘lack of urgency’

SEÁN FLYNN

THE LONG delay in publishing the Hunt report is “sadly indicative of the lack of urgency within the Department of Education to confront a range of important issues”, according to Labour’s Ruairí Quinn.

The report was commissioned almost two years ago and finalised in July.

Mr Quinn said yesterday the report was particularly vague on the controversial issue of undergraduate fees. “It fails to recognise that students already make a direct financial contribution for part-time and postgraduate courses and that all undergraduates currently pay a €1,500 student charge, which will rise to €2,000 next September,” he said.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) expressed concern about any new student fees and loans. USI president Gary Redmond pointed out that Ireland spent a smaller percentage of GDP on education than almost all other OECD countries.

“All public services have to be paid for; however, education and particularly third-level should be seen as a capital investment that will pay for itself many times over during the working lives of the graduates.”

The seven university presidents – represented by the Irish University Association – welcomed the report which they said “recognises the fundamental strengths of our system while also highlighting challenges and opportunities”.

The presidents reaffirmed their support for a new system of student loans based on income after graduation. They said planning for the introduction of such a system should not be delayed by immediate fiscal concerns.

Peter MacMenamin of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland said the report betrayed a fundamental misunderstanding of the workload of institutes of technology lecturers. He also described the concept of technological universities as “underdeveloped and confused”.

Prof Nicholas Canny, president of the Royal Irish Academy, said there was “a need for a revolution” in undergraduate teaching.

“The Hunt report rightly identifies a student’s first year as being key to a quality undergraduate experience and recognises that many students now entering higher education lack the necessary skills to successfully engage with higher education,” Prof Canny added.

The Irish Times – Wednesday, January 12, 2011

USI Calls on Government to Protect Education in Pre-Budget Submission

USI Calls on Government to Protect Education in Pre-Budget Submission

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) launched its pre-Budget submission, entitled “Ireland’s Future Starts Here”, today (October 22nd).

The major focus of the submission is USI’s call on the Government to protect Higher Education in December’s budget.

In its submission, USI highlights the importance of capping the Student Services Charge (Registration Fee), which has already increased by 689% percent, from €190 to €1500, since its inception.

At the beginning of the last academic year the Student Services Charge was increased by €600, directly putting additional financial pressure on students and their families. USI is very concerned that any additional increase in the Registration Fee will result in huge numbers of students being forced out of education.

USI also emphasises the importance of protecting the student maintenance grant from any further cuts. Thousands of students are heavily reliant on financial assistance in the current downturn, and additional cuts over the 5% announced in Budget 2010 would simply end their Third Level education.

The national students’ union has also urged the Government to allocate an extra €1.2 million to the Student Assistance Fund.

This €5 million fund is co-founded by the exchequer and the European Social Fund. The fund provides a lifeline to students most at risk of dropping out of college for financial reasons: students from single parent families, those from traditionally under-represented groups like mature students, students with disabilities and access students.

USI has also renewed its call on the Government to implement a graduate internship programme. Thousands of graduates are now unemployed and being forced to move abroad in search of work in the current recession.

It is vital that we take measures to keep our graduates in Ireland and utilise their skills in re-igniting the economy.

USI is urging the Government to seriously consider the education and future of thousands of young people in Ireland when drawing up December’s Budget.

USI President, Gary Redmond, said:

“Over the last number of months there have been persistent rumours of a doubling of the Student Service Charge to €3000 in the Budget. Despite persistent calls from USI the Minister for Education has revised to rule out a huge hike in the Registration Fee. Many students are already struggling to pay the current fee of €1500, so any further hike will simply cut short their Third Level education. It will also prevent thousands of other disadvantaged people from entering college in the future.

Similarly, any reductions to the student maintenance grant would only render Higher Education inaccessible to thousands of people in Ireland. Furthermore, many students, who are utterly dependent on the grant, will be forced to drop out of college.

Almost 91,000 high-skilled graduates are now unemployed and considering leaving Ireland for work. How can we restore our economy while our graduates are emigrating to find jobs? Ireland needs their skills and training to pull this country out of the recession.

We are the future of the Irish nation. We are the taxpayers of tomorrow. We are calling on the Government to Protect Education in the upcoming Budget to allow Ireland to continue to produce world-class graduates who will reignite the smart economy.”

Ends

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