NUI Galway 71

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					Consultation on the National Strategy for Higher Education Guidance Document

                                       Respondent’s Details

Name:                           Dr Séamus Mac Mathúna

Position (if applicable):       University Secretary

Organisation (if applicable):   NUI Galway

Address:                        University Road
                                Galway

Telephone:                      091-492150

Email:                          seamus.macmathuna@nuigalway.ie

Date:                           19 June, 2009


Is this response a personal view or is it made on behalf of your organisation?
Personal [            ]              On behalf of organisation [       ]

Information in relation to this submission may be made available to any person who makes a request
under the Freedom of Information Act, 1997 as amended in 2003.
                           National Strategy for Higher Education
                             Submission from NUI Galway

1.   Vision for the Higher Education Sector

     Our vision for the Irish higher education system for the years ahead is one where quality and value
     for money are the overriding criteria. It will be a system within which diversity of structure is
     matched by clarity of institutional role, and whose united and concerted focus is on meeting the
     developmental needs of the country in the most agile, complementary and cost-effective way.
     Specifically, it will

           provide clarity of mission for the respective sectors, articulated in terms of programme
            provision, research mandate, and response to the educational, economic, cultural and social
            needs of the community both regionally and nationally
           provide multiple and flexible modes of access to meet the diversity of needs and
            circumstances of the population – including socioeconomically disadvantaged, adult,
            fulltime, part-time, rural and urban – and ease of progression between the various sectors of
            the system
           insist on collaboration as a key operational value across the sector, structured into the system
            and rewarded accordingly
           demonstrate its commitment to the twin objectives of quality and value for money by
            adopting as a fundamental policy the concentration of expertise to the maximum extent
            possible, consistent with regional and spatial strategy, together with the elimination of
            unnecessary duplication in programme provision and physical resource.

2.   Vision for NUI Galway
     Within that vision for the system as a whole, NUI Galway, in its new Strategic Plan now being
     finalised, is setting as its mission – under the motto, ‘Learning and Leadership for Life and for
     Work’ – a commitment to a set of values, and a programme of research and scholarship, which
     foster the learning, leadership and professional skills which our graduates will require throughout
     their lifetime.

     Our vision for NUI Galway is that it

           offers a holistic educational and cultural experience to its diverse student body
           is recognised nationally and internationally for innovation, excellence and leadership in
            selected and distinctive programmes of teaching, research and scholarship, which reflect the
            strengths of the University, national priorities, the strengths and needs of its region, and with
            a particular commitment to Gaeltacht regions and the Irish-language community
           develops and sustains effective strategic partnerships with relevant regional, national and
            international stakeholders and organisations.
      NUI Galway seeks to combine a commitment to academic excellence and to the highest
      international standards of scholarship with a concern for the social, economic and cultural
      development of Ireland and in particular its hinterland.

      The University sees itself as a focus for social and economic transformation, conscious that
      universities are an important source of the knowledge and innovation which underpin the
      Knowledge Economy, and also provide unique opportunities to individuals to realise their full
      potential.

3.    The Three Most Important Changes Required
      Turning to the specifics of the submission invited by the Group, the following are the three most
      significant changes which NUI Galway would wish to see made to Irish higher education:

      3.1    Increased collaboration within a more clearly mission-differentiated system.

             3.1.1 Mission Differentiation

                     Official policy over the past four decades has been that a binary system of higher
                     education is the appropriate model. Over the last decade, however, there is increasing
                     evidence of mission drift, shown, for example, in the steady expansion of the
                     programme offerings of Institutes of Technology from Level 7 into Level 8 (generally
                     on an add-on basis), Level 9 and Level 10 in many disciplines, to the detriment of
                     needed sub-degree provision, not least in the area of skills, and shown also perhaps to
                     some extent in the contrary direction in the University sector. This has resulted in a
                     serious dilution of critical mass at Levels 9 and 10, to the detriment of Fourth-level
                     Ireland.

                     It has been pointed out recently1 that the State, with a population of 4.4 million,
                     currently has 25 Honours Degree centres and 20 PhD centres. In recent times the
                     quality of the PhD student experience and training has come under much closer
                     scrutiny. This has led to the increasing acceptance of the new concept of the Structured
                     PhD programme – which incorporates specific disciplinary and generic transferable
                     skills and requires much stricter monitoring of progression – as the appropriate model
                     for doctoral training for the future. In that context, there must be doubt about the
                     sustainability, in terms of quality as well as of resource utilisation, of the relatively
                     uncontrolled proliferation of PhD programmes of the traditional kind in the extra-
                     University sector.
                     The national imperative to increase research output and internationally competitive
                     PhD programmes in order to create and sustain the ‘Smart Economy’ makes this an
                     urgent issue. The same considerations of unnecessary duplication and sub-optimal
                     resource utilisation arise in relation to the proliferation of Level 8 and 9 programmes in
                     that sector.

                     It appears that, notwithstanding the official binary policy, there is no structural
                     mechanism in place to ensure its implementation in terms of programme development.
                     The only mechanism in place is approval by HETAC, on a delegated authority basis or
                     directly, of proposed programme provision in the extra-University sector. That
                     however, appears to be solely a standards-based process, without reference to any
                     strategic mission-related considerations, pursuant to the official policy.

1
 Dr. Seán McDonagh, former Director of Dundalk Institute of Technology and former Cathaoirleach of the Skills Initiative
Unit
       Mission differentiation is, however, also an issue within the University sector. Each
       University needs to identify and prioritise its strengths, recognise that it cannot aim for
       excellence in all areas, and work with other institutions to create a network based on
       selection and complementarity which will serve the needs of Irish society.

3.1.2 Increased Collaboration

       The growth in student numbers and in individual institutional activity and ambitions
       across the entire sector has led to keen competition between institutions in attracting
       good-quality students, expanding their range of programmes and enhancing their
       individual prestige. Such ambition, while laudable in itself, has, however, too often
       put a premium on individual competitive advantage rather than system collaboration.
       In the era of reduced resourcing in real terms immediately ahead, that is a luxury which
       we can no longer afford either in respect to sustaining quality of programmes or in
       respect to optimal use of resources.

       The requirement for institutional collaboration, across the sector, embodied in the rules
       for PRTLI submissions needs now to be embedded in all aspects of our higher-
       education system. The immediate consequence of that is that such collaboration must
       be incentivised and rewarded in the resource allocation process across the sector.

3.1.3 To summarise, the change which we would wish to see is: first, that the system be
      reconfigured in such a way as will eliminate needless duplication, tackle the mission
      drift which has led to much of that duplication, clarify the respective roles of the
      University and the extra-University sectors within the overall system, and force the
      system to deal with the full range of society’s needs, including those at sub-degree
      level; and second, that collaboration, particularly in relation to research, across the
      system as a whole be accorded structural priority in the funding mechanisms, with a
      view to ensuring that expertise, wherever located within the system, be harnessed for
      the benefit of all in terms of research activity, application and exploitation of research
      and otherwise.

       Specifically, we would see such collaboration as involving all third-level institutions in
       a particular geographical region, focusing on providing a comprehensive range of
       programmes between them, having regard to their institutional remit. At the national
       level, collaboration would be encouraged in research and in the provision of resource-
       intensive programmes, by encouraging each institution to agree its priority themes of
       teaching and research, reflecting their needs and strengths. The highest international
       level of scholarship would be encouraged by allocating resources based on
       international peer review and conformity with agreed strategy.

3.1.4 The barriers we can see to the achievement of that objective include the possible
      reluctance of institutions and of units within them to face retrenchment of institutional
      and sector ambitions either generally or in particular areas, the reduction in
      postgraduate student enrolment in particular institutions or areas, and the practical
      difficulty in establishing new ways of working. On the other hand, there is
      encouraging evidence of a willingness to face the need for a more rational use of
      resource and of an appreciation of the longer-term benefits of such a collaborative
      approach.

       The institutional dynamics favouring collaboration are not, however, helped by the
       obsession in recent times with world rankings and the uncritical credence often given
             to their conclusions. Contrary to some surveys, based largely on peer review, and self-
             reported data with unclear definition, the Sunday Times 2008 ranking, based mainly on
             data supplied by reliable third parties, suggests a relatively small differential between
             the Irish Universities: the top-ranked scored 569 out of 750 points, and the lowest 523.
             Indeed the basis of various ranking systems and their usefulness, in contrast to actual
             learning outcomes, were subjected to searching examination at the OECD/IMHE 2008
             conference. In any case it would seem more urgent now, in the interests of the Irish
             higher-education system as a whole, that the focus be rather on institutional
             collaboration, which itself is more likely indeed to advance quality within the system.

3.2   Engagement with the Community

      We would wish to see a more conscious and strategic engagement by the system with the
      community and its needs. Such engagement certainly exists in various areas already, but
      perhaps not in as coherent a way as would be desirable. What needs to be addressed in more
      strategic and structured terms is that nexus between third-level education and development,
      both economic and social.

      Engagement ranges from the simple provision of access to higher education for the
      socioeconomically disadvantaged, the adult population and those for whom by reason of
      geography or language access is not easy, to technology transfer and interaction with the
      public and private sectors, through a variety of other manifestations, such as NUI Galway’s
      leading programme (Community Knowledge Initiative) in civic engagement, service learning
      and student volunteering.

      A possible model for such engagement would be that all third-level institutions in a particular
      geographical region come together to identify how to share their resources and strategies to
      best effect for the region. Working in partnership mode within their respective remits, the
      institutions would collaborate in meeting the identified educational and developmental needs
      of that community through appropriate outreach and on-campus programme provision and
      through using their technology transfer expertise and linkages with industry and development
      agencies to apply the fruits of the research in the Universities and elsewhere for the economic
      regeneration of the community.

      The barriers to this objective would be, first, the financial implications – in terms of equal
      treatment with fulltime undergraduate students in respect of tuition fees – of expansion of
      access by adult learners to third-level education, and, second, the problem of generating at
      institutional level the necessary commitment to partnership, unless an adequate structural
      premium on such partnership were to be put in place.

3.3   Teaching

      While NUI Galway has enjoyed very significant and consistent success in the PRTLI, SFI and
      other research arenas over the last decade, we would also wish to see a re-assertion of the
      centrality of good teaching, and, in the case of Universities, of research-led teaching, as a
      prime goal of third-level education. The system’s engagement with good teaching as a real,
      rather than merely rhetorical, strategic objective needs to be addressed and strengthened.

      The technology to assist in the achievement of that objective – whether through flexible modes
      of delivery and assessment such as Virtual Learning Environments and blended learning or
      through structured student feedback on teaching quality – is nowadays freely available; what is
      needed, however, is a sustained institutional commitment to that objective, with appropriate
      recognition internally for excellent individual performance. Its importance extends, it should
be stressed, beyond the institution itself: given that one of the premier outputs of the
University sector is the production of teachers for second-level, the impact of proper attention
to teaching at third-level would extend back into the quality of second-level teaching.
Accordingly, the quality of teaching and of the supports for teaching needs to be a prime focus
of every institution’s quality assurance process.

The main barriers to the achievement of this objective are the problem of giving concrete
expression to it within the institutional reward system, the difficulty of developing accepted
mechanisms of measurement, and the provision of inservice training programmes for third-
level staff to improve and update their pedagogical capacity. Nevertheless, the success of this
University’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) in developing
technological facilities and formal teaching programmes for third-level staff here and from
elsewhere shows what can be achieved through a strategic commitment to the objective.
                             Straitéis Náisiúnta don Ardoideachas
                                Aighneacht ó OÉ Gaillimh

1.   Fís don Earnáil Ardoideachais

     Is é an fhís atá againn don chóras ardoideachais in Éirinn san am atá le teacht go mbeadh an córas
     sin bunaithe go háirithe ar chaighdeán agus ar luach ar airgead. Córas a bheidh ann ina mbeidh
     struchtúr ilghnéitheach ar lámh amháin agus soiléire maidir le ról na hinstitiúide ar an lámh eile,
     agus beidh sé dírithe go huile agus go hiomlán ar fhreastal ar riachtanais na tíre ar an mbealach is
     solúbtha, ar an mbealach is mó a chuirfidh leis an bhfreastal sin agus ar an mbealach is éifeachtaí ó
     thaobh costais de. Beidh na tréithe seo a leanas, go háirithe, ag baint leis:

           cuirfidh sé soiléire ar fáil ó thaobh misin maidir leis na hearnálacha éagsúla, rud a chuirfear
            in iúl tríd an soláthar cláir, an clár taighde, agus an chaoi a bhfreagrófar do riachtanais
            oideachais, eacnamaíochta, chultúrtha agus shóisialta an phobail go réigiúnach agus go
            náisiúnta
           cuirfidh sé go leor modhanna solúbtha rochtana ar fáil le freastal ar riachtanais
            ilghnéitheacha agus ar staid phobal na mac léinn – mic léinn atá faoi mhíbhuntáiste
            socheacnamaíoch, mic léinn ar daoine fásta iad, mic léinn lánaimseartha, mic léinn
            pháirtaimseartha, mic léinn tuaithe agus cathrach san áireamh – agus beidh sé éasca dul chun
            cinn a dhéanamh idir earnálacha éagsúla an chórais
           éileofar an comhoibriú mar phríomhluach oibríochtúil san earnáil trí chéile, agus beidh an
            comhoibriú sin ina chuid de struchtúr an chórais agus tabharfar aitheantas dó dá réir
           léireoidh sé a dhílseacht don dá phríomhchuspóir, caighdeán agus luach ar airgead, trí
            bheartas bunúsach a ghlacadh chuige go gcomhchruinneofar an saineolas oiread agus is
            féidir, i gcomhréir leis an straitéis réigiúnach agus spásúil, agus go gcuirfear deireadh le
            dúbailt nach gá sa soláthar cláir agus in acmhainní fisiciúla.

2.   Fís do OÉ Gaillimh
     San fhís sin don chóras trí chéile, is é an misean atá á leagan amach ag OÉ Gaillimh, sa Phlean
     Straitéiseach nua a bhfuiltear á chríochnú faoi láthair, faoin mana ‘Léann agus Ceannaireacht don
     Saol agus don Saothar’, go dtabharfar gealltanas maidir le sraith luachanna, agus maidir le clár
     taighde agus scoláireachta a chothóidh an léann, an cheannaireacht agus na scileanna gairmiúla a
     bheidh de dhíth ar ár gcéimithe i rith a saoil.

     Seo a leanas an fhís atá againn do OÉ Gaillimh

           go gcuirfear taithí oideachais agus chultúrtha iomlánaíoch ar fáil do na mic léinn ar fad
           go dtabharfar aitheantas náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta di ó thaobh nuálaíochta, feabhais agus
            ceannaireachta i sainchláir nuálaíocha teagaisc, taighde agus léinn ar leith, ar léiriú iad ar
            láidreachtaí na hOllscoile, ar thosaíochtaí náisiúnta agus ar riachtanais an réigiúin ina bhfuil
            sí suite, agus cúram ar leith á dhéanamh aici do na ceantair Ghaeltachta agus do phobal na
            Gaeilge.
           go ndéanfaidh sí comhpháirtíochtaí straitéiseacha éifeachtacha a fhorbairt agus a chothú le
            lucht leasa agus le heagraíochtaí ábhartha réigiúnacha, náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta

     Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag iarraidh gealltanas i leith feabhais acadúil agus i leith na gcaighdeán léinn
     idirnáisiúnta is fearr a nascadh leis an gcúram atá uirthi faoi fhorbairt shóisialta, eacnamaíoch agus
     chultúrtha na hÉireann agus go háirithe a mórcheantair féin.
         Feictear don Ollscoil gur lárionad í don athrú sóisialta agus eacnamaíoch, agus tuigeann sí gur
         foinse thábhachtach iad ollscoileanna don eolas agus nuálaíocht atá mar thaca ag an nGeilleagar
         Eolasbhunaithe, agus go gcuireann an Ollscoil deiseanna iontacha ar fáil do dhaoine le barr feabhais
         a bhaint amach.

3.       Na Trí hAthrú is Tábhachtaí atá de Dhíth
         Díreoimid anois ar mhionsonraí na haighneachta a d’iarr an Grúpa. Is iad na hathruithe seo a leanas
         na trí athrú is mó ba mhaith le OÉ Gaillimh a dhéanfaí ar an Ardoideachas in Éirinn:

         3.1   Breis comhoibrithe i gcóras ina bhfuil difreáil níos soiléire ann idir mhisin

               3.1.1 Difreáil idir Mhisin

                        Tá sé léirithe sa bheartas oifigiúil le dhá scór bliain anuas gur córas dénártha
                        ardoideachais an múnla cuí. Le deich mbliana anuas, áfach, tá fianaise ann nach
                        bhfuiltear ag cloí le misin, rud is léir, mar shampla, sa mhéadú seasta ar chláir atá á
                        gcur ar fáil ag Institiúidí Teicneolaíochta ó Leibhéal 7 go Leibhéal 8 (de ghnáth ar
                        bhonn forlíontach), Leibhéal 9 agus Leibhéal 10 in go leor disciplíní, rud atá ag
                        déanamh dochair don soláthar fochéime a bhfuil gá leis, sa réimse scileanna go
                        háirithe, agus rud atá le feiceáil chomh maith, b’fhéidir, ar mhalairt treo in earnáil na
                        nOllscoileanna. Tá de thoradh air seo go bhfuil caolú déanta ar an mais chriticiúil is gá
                        ag Leibhéil 9 agus 10 agus dochar dá réir don straitéis Cheathrú-leibhéal ag Éirinn.

                        Cuireadh in iúl le gairid2 go bhfuil 25 ionad Céimeanna Onóracha agus 20 aonad PhD
                        ag an Stát, a bhfuil pobal 4.4 milliún duine ann. Le ríghairid tá iniúchadh i bhfad níos
                        géire á dhéanamh ar chaighdeán thaithí agus oiliúint na mac léinn PhD. Dá bhrí sin,
                        táthar ag glacadh de réir a chéile le coincheap nua an PhD Struchtúraithe – ina nasctar
                        sainscileanna disciplín agus scileanna inaistrithe agus ina n-éilítear monatóireacht i
                        bhfad níos déine ar dhul chun cinn an mhic léinn – mar scothmhúnla oiliúna
                        dochtúireachta san am atá le teacht. Sa chomhthéacs sin, ba cheart go mbeifí in
                        amhras, ó thaobh caighdeáin agus úsáid acmhainní, faoi inmharthanacht na gcúrsaí
                        traidisiúnta PhD san earnáil sheach-Ollscoile atá dulta i líonmhaire mórán gan srian.

                        Tá an cheist seo le réiteach go práinneach i bhfianaise an riachtanais náisiúnta cur leis
                        an méid taighde atáthar a dhéanamh agus le líon na gclár PhD atá iomaíoch go
                        hidirnáisiúnta, le gur féidir an Geilleagar Glic a bhunú agus a chothú. Tá na nithe
                        céanna le cur san áireamh áit a bhfuil dúbláil nach bhfuil gá léi á déanamh agus
                        lagúsáid áiseanna ann maidir leis an bhflúirse clár Leibhéal 8 agus 9 san earnáil sin.

                        Is cosúil, in ainneoin an bheartais dhénártha oifigiúil, nach bhfuil aon mheicníocht
                        struchtúrtha ann lena chinntiú go ndéanfar amhlaidh agus cláir á bhforbairt. Is é an t-
                        aon mheicníocht atá ann faomhadh a fháil ó HETAC, ar bhonn údaráis tharmligthe nó
                        go díreach, maidir le soláthar molta cláir san earnáil sheach-Ollscoile. Ach is cosúil
                        gur próiseas caighdeánbhunaithe amháin é sin, nach bhfuil ceangal aige le haon chúinsí
                        straitéiseacha a bhaineann le misean de bhun an bheartais oifigiúil.

                        Is fadhb í freisin, áfach, laistigh den earnáil Ollscoile an difreáil idir mhisín. Is gá go
                        n-aithneodh gach Ollscoil a cuid láidreachtaí agus tosaíocht dá réir a thabhairt dóibh,
                        glacadh leis nach féidir léi barr feabhais a bhaint amach i ngach réimse, agus

2
    An Dr Seán McDonagh, iar-Stiúrthóir Institiúid Teicneolaíochta Dhún Dealgan agus iar-Chathaoirleach Skills Initiative Unit.
       comhoibriú le hinstitiúidí eile le gréasán a chruthú a bheas bunaithe ar roghnú agus ar
       chomhlántacht agus a bheas in ann fónamh do riachtanais na sochaí in Éirinn.

3.1.2 Breis Comhoibrithe

       Tá dianchomórtas cothaithe idir institiúidí ag an bhfás i líon na mac léinn agus i
       ngníomhaíocht agus in aidhmeanna institiúidí aonair san earnáil trí chéile mic léinn
       mhaithe a mhealladh, an réimse clár a mhéadú agus cur lena ngradam mar institiúidí
       aonair. Cé gur maith ann aidhmeanna den sórt sin, is rómhinic a chuirtear luach ar
       bhuntáiste iomaíoch aonair seachas ar chomhoibriú córais. Sa ré atá ar leic an dorais
       againn ina mbeidh laghdú ar acmhainní, ní hacmhainn dúinn an meon sin a bheith
       againn a thuilleadh ó thaobh chaighdeán na gclár a choinneáil nó an úsáid is fearr a
       bhaint as acmhainní.

       Caithfear an gá atá le comhoibriú idir institiúidí, san earnáil trí chéile, mar a léirítear
       sna rialacha a bhaineann le haighneachtaí PRTLI, a bheith mar bhonn le gach gné dár
       gcóras ardoideachais. Ciallaíonn sin go gcaithfear comhoibriú den sórt sin a spreagadh
       agus aitheantas a thabhairt dó sa phróiseas leithdháilte acmhainní san earnáil trí chéile.

3.1.4 Go bunúsach, seo a leanas an t-athrú ba mhaith linne a dhéanfaí: ar an gcéad dul síos,
      ba mhaith linn go ndéanfaí athchumrú ar an gcóras ar bhealach a chuirfidh deireadh le
      dúbláil nach bhfuil gá léi, a thabharfaidh faoin seachaint misin is cúis le go leor den
      dúbláil sin, agus go ndéanfaí soiléiriú ar róil earnáil na nOllscoileanna agus earnáil na
      seach-Ollscoileanna araon laistigh den chóras féin, agus go gcuirfí brú ar an gcóras plé
      le réimse iomlán riachtanais na sochaí, na riachtanais ag leibhéal fochéime san
      áireamh; ar an dara dul síos, ba cheart go dtabharfaí tosaíocht struchtúrtha sna
      meicníochtaí maoinithe don chomhoibriú sin, go háirithe maidir le taighde, sa chóras
      trí chéile, d’fhonn a chinntiú go mbainfear leas as saineolas, cuma cá háit sa chóras a
      bhfuil sé lonnaithe, chun tairbhe gach duine ó thaobh gníomhaíochta taighde, ó thaobh
      feidhmiú agus saothrú an taighde agus ar bhealaí eile.

       Shamhlóimis, go háirithe, go mbeadh gach institiúid tríú leibhéal rannpháirteach sa
       chomhoibriú sin i gceantar áirithe tíreolaíochta, ag díriú ar réimse cuimsitheach clár a
       sholáthar eatarthu, ag brath ar an gcúram institiúideach atá orthu. Ar leibhéal
       náisiúnta, ba cheart go spreagfaí comhoibriú sa taighde agus i soláthar dianchlár
       acmhainní, trí gach institiúid a spreagadh lena príomhthéamaí tosaíochta teagaisc agus
       taighde a chomhaontú, téamaí a léireodh a gcuid láidreachtaí agus a gcuid laigeachtaí.
       Spreagfaí scothleibhéal scoláireachta idirnáisiúnta trí acmhainní a dháileadh bunaithe
       ar athbhreithniú piaraí idirnáisiúnta agus i gcomhréir le straitéis chomhaontaithe.

3.1.4 Is iad na bacainní a fheicimidne maidir leis an gcuspóir sin a bhaint amach go
      mb’fhéidir go mbeadh drogall ar institiúidí agus ar aonaid laistigh de na hinstitiúidí sin
      aghaidh a thabhairt ar ghearradh siar a dhéanamh ar aidhmeanna institiúide nó ar
      aidhmeanna earnála go ginearálta nó i réimsí ar leith, an laghdú ar líon na mac léinn
      iarchéime a chláróidh in institiúidí áirithe nó i réimsí áirithe, agus an deacracht
      phraiticiúil a bhaineann le bealaí nua oibre a bhunú. Ar an lámh eile, tá fianaise ann a
      thabharfadh misneach do dhuine go bhfuil daoine sásta aghaidh a thabhairt ar an ngá
      atá le húsáid níos réasúnaí a bhaint as acmhainní agus go bhfuil tuiscint ann ar an
      tairbhe fhadtéarmach a bheadh le baint as cur chuige comhoibritheach den sórt sin.

       Ní chuidíonn, áfach, an róbhéim atá le gairid ar rátálacha domhanda agus an t-
       aitheantas gan cheist a thugtar do na torthaí sin leis an dinimic institiúideach ar son an
       chomhoibrithe. Seachas mar a thuigfí ó shuirbhéanna áirithe atá bunaithe go mór mór
              ar athbhreithniú piaraí agus ar shonraí féintuairiscithe nach sainmhínítear go soiléir,
              tugann rátáil Sunday Times 2008, atá bunaithe ar shonraí a chuireann tríú páirtithe
              iontaofa ar fáil, le tuiscint nach bhfuil ach difreáil bheag i gceist idir Ollscoileanna na
              hÉireann: bhain an ceann ab fhearr scór 569 pointe as 750 pointe amach, agus an ceann
              ab ísle scór 523 pointe. Go deimhin rinneadh diancheistiú ar bhailíocht eolaíoch an
              bhunúis a bhíonn leis na córais rátála éagsúla nó a úsáidí a bhíonn siad, i gcomparáid
              leis na torthaí foghlama iarbhír, ag comhdháil OECD/IMHE 2008. Ar aon chaoi, is
              cosúil gur práinní anois, ar mhaithe leis an gcóras ardoideachais trí chéile in Éirinn, go
              mbeadh an fócas ina ionad sin ar chomhoibriú institiúideach, rud is dóichí a chuirfeadh
              as féin le feabhas an chórais féin.

3.2   Comhpháirteachas leis an bPobal

      Ba mhaith linn comhpháirteachas níos coinsiasaí agus níos straitéisí a fheiceáil idir an córas,
      an pobal agus riachtanais an phobail. Cinnte, tá an comhpháirteachas sin ann cheana féin i
      réimsí éagsúla, ach b’fhéidir nach bhfuil bonn comhleanúnach go leor faoi. Is gá aghaidh a
      thabhairt i dtéarmaí níos straitéisí agus níos struchtúrtha ar an nasc sin idir oideachas tríú
      leibhéal agus forbairt, idir fhorbairt eacnamaíoch agus fhorbairt shóisialta.

      Baineann comhpháirteachas le fáil a bheith ar an ardoideachas ag daoine atá faoi
      mhíbhuntáiste socheacnamaíoch, ag an bpobal fásta agus acu sin nach bhfuil teacht go héasca
      acu ar an ardoideachas de bharr cúrsaí tíreolaíochta nó teanga, le haistriú teicneolaíochta agus
      le hidirghníomhú leis an earnáil phoiblí agus an earnáil phríobháideach, agus go leor
      cineálacha gníomhaíochtaí eile, amhail chlár cheannródaíoch OÉ Gaillimh sa
      chomhpháirteachas poiblí (CKI), san fhoghlaim seirbhíse agus do mhic léinn a dhéanann obair
      dheonach.

      D’fhéadfadh sé gur samhail fhéideartha den sórt sin comhpháirteachais a bheadh ann dá
      dtiocfadh institiúidí uile tríú leibhéal i réigiún tíreolaíochta ar leith le chéile leis an mbealach a
      bhféadfaidís a gcuid acmhainní agus a gcuid straitéisí a roinnt ar mhaithe leis an réigiún a
      aithint. Dá mbeidís ag obair i modh comhpháirtíochta laistigh dá réimsí dualgais féin, bheadh
      na hinstitiúidí ag comhoibriú le chéile le freastal ar riachtanais aitheanta oideachais agus
      forbartha an phobail sin trí chláir chuí for-rochtana a sholáthar ar an gcampas agus trína
      saineolas aistrithe teicneolaíochta agus a naisc leis an tionscal agus le gníomhaireachtaí
      forbartha a úsáid le toradh an taighde sna hOllscoileanna agus in áiteanna eile a chur i
      bhfeidhm ar mhaithe le hathbheochan eacnamaíoch an phobail sin.

      Is iad seo a leanas na bacainní a bheadh ar an gcuspóir seo a bhaint amach: ar an gcéad dul
      síos, na himpleachtaí airgeadais – ó thaobh comhionannais le mic léinn fochéime
      lánaimseartha maidir le táillí teagaisc – a bhainfeadh le cur leis an bhfáil atá ag mic léinn
      fhásta ar an tríú leibhéal; agus ar an dara dul síos, an fhadhb a bhaineann leis an ngealltanas is
      gá a fháil ag leibhéal na hinstitiúide i leith comhpháirtíochta, mura rachfaí i mbannaí go
      struchtúrtha agus go cuí ar chomhpháirtíocht ach a mbunófaí í.
3.3   Teagasc

      Cé go raibh an-rath ar OÉ Gaillimh go leanúnach leis an PRTLI, an SFI agus le réimsí taighde
      eile le deich mbliana anuas, ba mhaith linn go ndéanfaí athdhearbhú ar a lárnaí atá dea-
      theagasc, agus i gcás Ollscoileanna, teagasc taighde-dhírithe, mar cheann de phríomhchuspóir
      an oideachais tríú leibhéal. Ní mór aghaidh a thabhairt ar an mbealach a dtéann an córas i
      ngleic le dea-theagasc mar fhíorchuspóir seachas mar rosc straitéiseach, agus an bealach a
      ndéantar sin a neartú.
Tá fáil go héasca sa lá atá inniu ann ar an teicneolaíocht, rud a chuideodh leis an gcuspóir sin a
bhaint amach – trí mhodhanna solúbtha seachadta agus measúnachta amhail an Timpeallacht
Fhíorúil Foghlama nó foghlaim chumaisc nó trí aiseolas struchtúraithe ó mhic léinn maidir le
caighdeán an teagaisc; ach tá gá le gealltanas seasmhach ón institiúid maidir leis an gcuspóir
sin, agus le haitheantas cuí go hinmheánach ar fheidhmíocht aonair den scoth. Téann a
thábhacht sin, agus is cóir seo a lua go sonrach, i bhfad thar thairseach na hinstitiúide féin: ó
tharla go bhfuil soláthar múinteoirí don dara leibhéal ar cheann de na príomhchúraimí atá ar
earnáil na hOllscoile, ba cheart go dtabharfaí an aird chuí ar an teagasc ag an tríú leibhéal agus
go mbeadh tionchar aige sin ar chaighdeán an dara leibhéal dá réir. Dá réir sin, caithfear an
bhéim is mó i bpróiseas gach institiúide um dhearbhú feabhais a leagan ar fheabhas an teagaisc
agus ar an tacaíocht atá ann do na riachtanais teagaisc.

Is iad na príomhbhacainní atá ar chomhlíonadh an chuspóra seo an fhadhb a bhaineann lena
chur in iúl ar bhealach coincréiteach i gcóras gradaim na hinstitiúide, an deacracht a bhaineann
le meicníochtaí inghlactha tomhais a fhorbairt agus an soláthar clár oiliúna inseirbhíse don
fhoireann tríú leibhéal lena gcumas teagaisc a fheabhsú agus a thabhairt cothrom le dáta. Mar
sin féin, léiríonn a fheabhas a d’éirigh le hIonad um Fheabhas Foghlama agus Teagaisc na
hOllscoile seo (CELT) áiseanna teicneolaíochta agus cláir fhoirmiúla teagaisc a fhorbairt don
fhoireann tríú leibhéal anseo agus in áiteanna eile a mhéad is féidir a chur i gcrích trína dhíriú
go straitéiseach ar an aidhm sin.

				
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