LIT chief's investment appeal for third level sector

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

LIT chief's investment appeal for third level sector

New LIT president Vincent Cunnane with students at the Moylish college

THE new president of the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) has warned the Moylish college will have to start using points “as an excuse” to turn away students unless the government invests.

Former Shannon Development boss Dr Vincent Cunnane, who took over as the college's leader this week, has called for an extra €1,000 per student, plus a €1bn investment in terms of capital investment across the third level sector.

The father-of-three feels Ireland is unprepared for the influx of students coming down the line - and even less prepared to help pupils with non-mainstream needs.

“For me, one of the saddest and most disappointing things is that if we raise the expectations of kids, by bringing them into third level, and we dash them, not by their inability because we have not provided them with the right teaching techniques.They go out not having achieved, that is saddening, a waste of talent and a waste of time,” he told the Limerick Leader this week,

“If we can get these kids through, it is transformational.”

Dr Cunnane wants to see more money on his operational budget so he can do more with the “retention” of students.

“Give me more spend so I can actually build the appropriate facilities. Replace my outdated equipment which is 20 years old and not fit for anything, and I will give you everything this country needs in terms of the skills base, the applied research output, and the access for those kids,” he pledged.

He says warnings to government about the numbers of students coming down the line are falling on deaf ears.

“If you think we have a problem now, there is 2,000 extra students for the next 15 years coming into the system. We don’t have the space for them. We are trying to warn the government about what is happening, but government is not responding,” he says.

Asked what the worst case scenario would be, he said: "We will be turning away students, and we will be using the excuse of points."

"We could be dealing with a majority. We will deal with the majority, but we don't want to be dealing with an elitist majority. We want to be dealing with people who want to take advantage of professional training opportunities.

“Whether they have achieved or underachieved, we want to give them the opportunity. Third level education should be a right," he concluded.

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