Thursday, 12 July 2018
Department of Education and Skills
Institutes of Technology
155. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the breakdown of spending of the €3.75 million ring-fenced funding to secure the future of the Mayo campus of GMIT; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31864/18]
156. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of courses, the name of each course and the reason each course will be terminated or suspended at the Mayo GMIT campus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31865/18]
158. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when the recommendations of the GMIT working group will be implemented in full; the timeline for each recommendation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31867/18]
159. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the amount that has been allocated to the Galway campus of GMIT; the amount that has been allocated to the Mayo campus of GMIT in the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 academic years by each campus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31868/18]
160. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will report on the issues facing the sustainability of the Mayo campus of GMIT; his plans to address these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31869/18]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 155 to 160, inclusive, together.
I would again like to assure the Deputy that the Government is committed to the future sustainability of the Castlebar Campus of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). For this reason the Working Group was established in order to develop a plan to safeguard the future of the campus. The Report of the Working Group was published in December 2017. It provides a wide-ranging assessment of the context within which the Campus is currently operating, and outlines a proposed vision for the future of the Mayo Campus, as well as a strategic and comprehensive plan to address the financial and sustainability issues which have been experienced by the GMIT Mayo Campus in recent years.
The plan includes 33 recommendations in total which will be implemented by the Governing Body and its Sub Committee. The sub-committee has been established to oversee and monitor the implementation of the working group report. The majority of the recommendations are for GMIT to implement including those with regard to course provision at Castlebar. I understand that GMIT has taken the decision to withdraw two courses for 2018/19 (BSc Hons in Digital Media and Society and the Higher Certificate in Construction Management) due to an insufficient number of applicants to make the programmes viable options for Castlebar. However, while GMIT took the decision to withdraw these courses, the institute has reinstated other programmes at the Castlebar campus for 2018/19 - Sustainable Building Technology and the Heritage related programmes of History & Geography and Culture & Environment - subject to a viable number of applicants.
I have prioritised the recommendations that relate specifically to my Department. This includes the allocation of €750,000 per annum for the next 5 years is to assist the sustainability of the campus for the duration of the implementation of the recommendations and measures of the working group report (in total €3.75m). The provision of this additional funding will be contingent on GMIT making progress on implementing the recommendations in this review, and will be subject to review by the HEA. I have also committed to the provision of the necessary capital funding for the replacement of the roof of the GMIT campus that is currently in need of repair.
My Department and the HEA are continuing to work closely with GMIT to ensure that the other recommendations of the Report are being progressed. The working group report acknowledged the complexities and the necessary implementation time required for a number of the recommendations. It therefore recommended that the plan should be implemented on a planned phased basis by the sub-committee for 5 years, over the period 2018-2022, with a review at the end of year 2 and formal progress reports to be submitted to the GMIT Governing Body and the HEA every four months.
My Department allocates recurrent funding to the HEA for direct disbursement to institutions under the HEA’s remit, including GMIT. The HEA allocates this as a block grant to institutions to cover teaching, research and administration. This funding is allocated on a calendar year basis. For 2017 and 2018 the core block grant allocated to GMIT was as follows:
2017 - €23.8m
2018 - €25.1m
In addition, GMIT like other institutions will receive funding in respect of free fees and other targeted initiatives e.g. skills, apprenticeships. These amounts have yet to be fully allocated by the HEA for 2018. The internal allocation of this grant, along with private funding received, is solely a matter for GMIT. I would like to again assure the Deputy that my Department and the HEA will continue to work with GMIT on ensuring that the recommendations of the Working Group are implemented as soon as possible, and with appropriate consultation with relevant stakeholders, to ensure the future sustainability of the Castlebar campus.