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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 13 December, 2018
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Students aren't at all happy about cuts and overcrowding at NCAD

Students packed out a room at the college this afternoon, demanding a progress report on their concerns from management.

Updated at 8pm

arts Source: NCAD Student Action

DOZENS OF STUDENTS packed out a classroom at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin this afternoon to protest at management decisions which they contend are damaging the quality of their studies.

It comes just days after between 300 and 400 students gathered to deliver letters of protest to the the institution’s director, at lunchtime last Friday.

The students say first year numbers have been increased by 75 per cent without extra resources being provided.

A number of extra fees have also been introduced, the students say – and a number of “derelict” buildings are being used for Masters students.

Undergraduate studios are also overcrowded, the students contend.

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In a Facebook post last Friday, protest group ‘NCAD Student Action’ said they would gather again today, and were looking for an “itemised progress report” on their demands.

Photos posted online today showed a group of over 100 students gathered in a room in the college for an “emergency board meeting”.

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The students said NCAD Director Declan McGonagle had refused to meet them – but in updates later said he had addressed the group, and asked them to meet at the nearby St Catherine’s Church.

In comments to RTÉ after last Friday’s protest, McGonagle said he shared many of the student’s concerns, telling the broadcaster that there had been a huge reduction in resources across the third-level sector.

In a statement to this website, the college said management had “been engaging proactively” with the students and the Students’ Union on their concerns about the impact of funding cutbacks.

“The Director of NCAD has held a number of meetings with the Students’ Union and meets with student groupings on a regular basis,” the statement said.

“Since 2008, the core grant for NCAD has decreased by almost 50 per cent. At the same time, in response to significant reform in national education policy and the institutional landscape, the College has taken steps to increase its student numbers.

“Since 2010, the overall number of undergraduate students at NCAD has risen from 780 to 1,033, representing an increase of just over 30 per cent.

The overall staff:student ratio at NCAD, at present, is 1:15, which is in line with the national average for comparable education-providers in Art and Design.  The ratio for the university sector generally is 1:23.

TheJournal.ie has also contacted the students for comment.

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