Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Third Level Reform

Photo of Thomas ByrneThomas Byrne (Meath East, Fianna Fail)
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194. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an analysis conducted by the European Commission of the options outlined in the Cassells report; if it will be completed in Q2 2020 as previously stated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5856/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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The development of a sustainable funding model for higher education is essential in light of the centrality of higher education - both in terms of human capital development, research and innovation - to underpinning the future development of Ireland as a knowledge economy against the backdrop of rapid technological change. 

In that context, a comprehensive economic evaluation of the funding options presented in the Report of the Expert Group on Future Funding for Higher Education is underway supported under the European Commission DG Reform Programme.   

The Department is working closely with the European Commission and the consultants appointed by DG Reform, who are aiming to investigate methods of increasing the sustainability of higher and further education provision in Ireland, including an examination of the funding options as set out in the Expert Group’s Report on the Future Funding of Higher Education. This review, undertaken by an expert independent international consortium, commenced in Q4 2019 and is scheduled to be substantially complete in Q4 2020. 

The comprehensive and detailed analysis of funding options for higher education and the assessment of the appropriate balance between provision across the tertiary education system is expected to play a very important role in informing Government decision-making in this critical area.  It will provide the basis for a national consensus on the appropriate policy approach which is fundamental to Ireland's economic and social sustainability and progress and the delivery of key policy objectives under Project Ireland 2040 and Future Jobs Ireland.

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