ITT President welcomes opportunity for University in Kerry

National Strategy for Higher Education The President of IT, Tralee Michael Carmody welcomed the publication of the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030,  commissioned by the Minister for Education and Skills, Mary Coughlan which was officially launched in Dublin on Tuesday.

The report sets out a strategy for Higher Education in Ireland for the next 20 years and was presented to the Minister by Colin Hunt, Chairman of the Higher Education Strategy Group.

The President of the Institute believes the recommendations of the report while providing challenges for the sector also provides opportunities. “The National Strategy for Higher Education Report outlines the importance of higher education to the future economic development of the country. Nationally, the number of people entering higher education is growing and the profile of students is changing. These national trends are reflected in the recent yearly intake to the ITT, with the Institute experiencing a 30% increase in the number of first year students entering the Institute in September 2010. The Institute has also seen significant growth in mature students, with 21% of our student cohort now over 23 years of age. The Institutes growth in student numbers and courses, coupled with the significant investment in recent years in our physical infrastructure, ensures that the ITT will continue to play a central role in course provision in the region.”

The National Strategy for Higher Education Report outlines the need for third level providers to guarantee wider participation and fairness of access to students, in addition to the need to develop new structures to reflect the diverse needs of students. The report also outlines the requirement for colleges to ensure greater efficiencies in how they do their business and a need to ensure that institutions co-operate and collaborate to mutual benefit.

In dealing with the recommendations of the report, Michael Carmody is also confident of the Institutes’ ability to deal with future challenges. “The ITT is well positioned to deal with the recommendations of the report.  We have a team of excellent staff who are committed to the continued development of the Institute. Over the last number of years, we have exceeded nationally set targets in terms of access objectives, grown our student numbers and courses and have engaged in many forms of successful collaboration, such as the Shannon Consortium which has been commended by the HEA and the Department of Education and Skills. We are presently engaged with a number of potential partners in terms of future alliances, with the core of these discussions focusing on enhancing and consolidating the position of the ITT within the region. One of the primary aims of these discussions is to ensure the securing of a University for Kerry.” 

In conclusion Michael Carmody outlined that staff and students of the Institute, as well as other stakeholders should be confident that any discussions with potential partners are focused on embedding the importance of the ITT to the region. “Given the human and physical capital the ITT brings to any negotiating table, in addition to our significant market share in the region, the Institute is extremely confident in its discussions with potential partners that we will play a critical role in any new third level entity established. Given that the ITT has grown and adapted from its inception as part of Tralee VEC, to Tralee RTC and presently to the Institute of Technology, Tralee adapting to change has been central to our growth. The recommendations by the Strategy Group which include significantly increasing the number of students entering third level over the next two decades, offers a new chapter in our development as achieving this ambitious target will provide real opportunities for the Institute.”