Ibec welcomes policy to increase investment in higher education

May 04, 2022

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business,  welcomes the launch of a new policy announced today by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris T.D. to address the funding gap in higher education and increase investment in the sector.  

Higher education institutions have played a significant role in the economic and societal transformation of Ireland’s economy over past decades. The announcement of further investment of €307 million in core funding recognises the urgent funding crisis facing the sector and the necessity of investing in the quality and capacity of Ireland’s education institutions to protect our international competitiveness offering.  

Commenting on today’s announcement, Meadhbh Costello, Ibec Policy Executive, said: “Quality education institutions are the cornerstone of a vibrant and dynamic economy and society. Talented people, the availability of key skills and the ability to engage in exciting industry-academia collaboration are critical for attracting international investment and supporting the development of indigenous enterprises. 

“Employers recognise the value of a world-class education and training system and make direct contributions to the funding of further and higher education through the National Training Fund. There is now a €1.1 billion surplus in the National Training Fund, with this set to increase by a further €88 million in 2022. This needs to be leveraged to address acute and emerging skills needs. Further investment in programmes such as apprenticeships, Skillnet Ireland and the Human Capital Initiative must be facilitated through the National Training Fund to support more individuals in preparing for the future of work and the digital and green transitions.” 

Ibec looks forward to supporting the implementation of this policy and associated reforms to further enhance the quality of teaching and learning in tertiary education. To address the funding crisis and trends around the declining performance of Irish universities in international rankings, it is imperative that Budget 2023 makes significant progress in closing the funding gap.