Degrees Of Shame


Trinity College Provost Patrick Prendergast

Following a dramatic fall in world university rankings…

Trinity College Dublin is considering cutting its intake of Irish students by up to a quarter over the next five years in order to protect the quality of its education.

Such a move would likely result in a sharp increase in the number of CAO points required for courses due to increased competition for fewer places.

However, it would maintain its lucrative international student numbers who currently account for about 20 per cent of the college’s enrolment….

Provost Patrick Prendergast sez:

This is about reducing the total number of Irish students – not substituting them … we’re going to have to realise that we don’t have the academic staff to teach the students we already have. That’s what the rankings are telling us,”

Trinity considering plan to cut 3,000 places for Irish students (Irish Times)



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22 thoughts on “Degrees Of Shame

  1. Zaccone

    Trinity (and other universities) need more money to pay for running themselves. They’re massively underfunded at present. The state doesn’t pay enough money for each Irish student who attends. So the universities are going to have to secure funding in other ways.

    The universities aren’t to blame here, the state is, for not paying them enough to educate Irish students.

    1. shortforbob

      This story about reducing undergraduate numbers shouldn’t be much of a surprise, undergraduate students don’t drive revenue, graduate researchers do.

      I’m fairly sure Trinity was against the abolition of fees from the start and never wanted to be locked into the government (under)funded education system in the first place. I don’t think there has ever been a time when they didn’t say they were underfunded. Maybe they knew all along but certainly by the time of the Celtic Tiger boom they knew that if they weren’t getting anywhere near the funding they wanted when things were good, they were never going to get sufficient funding.

    2. Termagant

      Did you not see the previous post about Trinity getting new busts carved because one of their libraries doesn’t sufficiently reflect the diversity of the modern campus? The place is awash with money, they just don’t tend to spend it on undergrads. Anyone who’s ever attended a lecture in the museum building can tell you that much. The only people who get resources are people who’ll pull in cash, it’s being run as a business, not an educational institution.

  2. eoin

    *clears throat* *hucks, spits* *withdraws another 10 yards to get a good running start*

    Trinity gets €50m a year in direct payments from the taxpayer.
    Trinity gets (indirectly through student grants) around €50m a year from the taxpayer
    Trinity gets (indirectly through research grants with hazy investment/repayment terms) 10s of millions each year from the taxpayer
    On top of which Trinity gets student fees from Irish students, foreign students, philanthropic grants, half-hearted commercial grants, investment income from a portfolio of investments and other miscellanerous income.
    Trinity is sitting on €150m+ of cash.

    There are 25 staff at Trinity paid more than the Taoiseach (€190k+)

    The Provost has, or has access to, a €2m apartment.

    Trinity is our very own national center for hazing excellence.

    While other reputable universities have cut links with controversial companies like Chinese state-level spying company (allegedly), Trinity still rolls out the welcome mat.

    Nice that Trinity introduced a new fraud policy in 2019, because they were taken for a €1m+ ride the previous year.

    Trinity has fallen to #164 in the world rankings, even Queens in Belfast is snapping at its heels.

    If Patrick the Provost was the CEO of a commercial company, the shareholders would have drop kicked him ages ago. Maybe time for someone fresh to take over the reins.

  3. ciaran

    ah yes, the daily superfluous photograph of varadkar. absolutely no relevance to the story but bs gets it in anyway.

  4. Tea And Brexits

    No surprise there. Trinity’s always hated Irish students – the place is full of Brits (there for free, but Brexit has ruined that). Of course, the Brits will have have to pay full whack. Problem solved.

    Shameful stuff from Trinity. But consistent.

    1. Cian

      No. Education is one of the parts of the Common Travel Agreement – so they will continue to access education here on the same terms as Irish citizens.

  5. Stan

    With regard to the tweet from Brid McGrath above – I did some teaching there a few years back and, while signing up for the library, I was asked to sign a document that denominated fines/ penalities in guineas. I also wasn’t able to borrow books which is a bit of a bind if you’re teaching a few other jobs as well – means having to do prep onsite. Oh, and I shared an office with 11 (eleven!) other PT staff.

  6. Philip

    All a journalist has to do to investigate this issue is to put in an FOI request on staff contracts in Trinity, and particularly FOI the total teaching hours and the percentage done by staff on temp contracts (the figure is quite shocking). This is not affecting the quality of teaching – many of those on these contracts are there because they are profoundly committed to their subject and their research – they’re certainly not in it for the money. The college system is currently subsidised by these people – not by the money managers. Even the union IFUT won’t represent temp contract interests, and many of the colleges won’t agree to anything over a .2 contract because then labour laws kick in. Many lecturers might only be ‘on the clock’ for two hours each week, but it could be two days of work that goes into that teaching, not to mention student emails, marking and exam setting and admin. If Patrick Prendergast would like to discuss the percentage of his staff who are on precarious contracts, and what the trend has been with regard this method of employment, then perhaps the Dept of Education would take note?

    1. Brother Barnabas

      taking on people (who should rightly be recruited as full-time lecturers) as teaching fellows on 8-month contracts, way down the pay scale, yet giving them lecturer responsibilities, is certainly affecting the quality of teaching in TCD. it’s gone to sh 1t as and anyone working there will admit that.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        Wondering if those jobs you refer to are the c. €34K for Assistant Lecturer with PhD? Seems a shocking wage for an academic who has probably spent all their lives devoted to education.

  7. Termagant

    It’ll take a lot more than more euros per head to fix what’s wrong with Trinity. There’s an abundance of not giving a fupp.

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