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The HEA proposes merging 39 colleges into 24

By reducing the number of institutions, the HEA believes it will improve quality, increase capacity and be better value.

Image: Student studying via Shuttterstock

THE HIGHER EDUCATION Authority has proposed merging the current 39 third-level colleges in Ireland into 24.

It says the institutions receive over €1 billion annually in grants that serves around 170,000 students. By reducing the number of overall institutions in Ireland, the HEA believes that it will improve quality, will increase capacity, so it will be better able to meet future demands and will be better value.

However, the HEA says that it wants to protect the distinctive roles and missions of universities and technological institutes.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority, said:

We need a more effective higher education system, a system of coordinated institutions, institutions of scale, institutions with clear missions.

Before reaching any conclusions, further consultations will be held with the higher education institutions in February, before the HEA provides advice to the Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn in March.

Read: Croke Park talks continue despite earlier warnings of breakdown >

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Amy Croffey

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