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College lecturers spending more time teaching ‘basic skills’

A survey of almost 1,200 academics was recently carried out in Ireland which found that they feel more time is being spent on basic skills work due to the increasing number of students entering third-level with language difficulties and a lack of basic writing skills. The finding of the survey are detailed in the report “Creating a Supportive Working Environment for Academics in Higher Education". The report written by UCD educationalist Dr Marie Clarke, DIT researcher and TUI assistant general secretary Dr Aidan Kenny and sociologist Dr Andrew Loxley calls on higher education institutions to “make specific and public commitments to the teaching role of academics”. The study notes that between 2007 and 2014 the higher education sector sustained funding cuts of 29 per cent or over €385 million. Over a similar period, student numbers rose by 16 per cent (31,640) while staff numbers fell by 4,500. 

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