THE president of Limerick Institute of Technology, which scored poorly in the Sunday Times best university guide, said the publication is “very restricted” in terms of how it grades universities and institutions around the country.
LIT was placed 18th on the list of 21 third-level institutions, falling four places from the previous year.
The institutions are rated on their level of research, graduate employment rate, the number of honours degrees awarded, completion rate and the ratio of staff to students.
But Dr Maria Hinfelaar, president of LIT, said it does not take into account factors such as student satisfaction, the institution’s level of interaction with industry, or measure employment creation in the region.
“I don’t begrudge any of the institutions their good results, but the guide is very narrow,” she told the Limerick Leader.
She also questioned whether the employment rates for other institutions are “credible”, and said there are a few aspects to the annual publication that she’d take on board “with a big dose of salt.”
“The guide doesn’t reflect the progress we’ve actually made. It’s done on a classical ranking system, but there are other things to consider. I’d encourage prospective students to look beyond that,” she said.
Among the strides LIT have made is securing funds for a major new library and information centre, with the first sod to be turned this November. It will cost in the region of €12m through a public private partnership.
Dr Hinfelaar said the figures in relation to LIT printed in the guide are correct.
It highlights that LIT’s drop-out rate stands at 24 per cent, with an unemployment rate of 21 per cent, and with 49 per cent of students receiving first class honours degrees and 2:1s - substantially higher than those receiving high honours degrees in the University of Limerick.
LIT received three stars for its sporting facilities, while UL received the maximum five stars for its sporting excellence. Its research income is significantly less than UL’s €41m, standing at €5.5m.
The average entry points for UL are 396 points, while in LIT it’s lower at 323 points.
Out of a possible 750 points awarded by the guide based on certain criteria, UL received 514 and LIT amassed a grade of 425. UL’s place on the list has fallen from sixth to seventh, with an unemployment rate of 11 per cent and a drop-out rate of 18 per cent.