Ireland

Following several developments in the field of governance of higher education, in 2014 the Irish Universities Association (IUA) requested EUA to complete a new collection round of Irish data with a view to releasing an updated version of the Autonomy Scorecard for Ireland. The ensuing report outlined the evolution reported by IUA for the period 2010-2014 as well as general trends in the field of governance and autonomy in Ireland. The present report offers a further update of the situation in Ireland, valid for 2016.

Recent developments:

  • Entrenchment of restrictions imposed by the Employment Control Framework
  • Post-2014 developments
    • The “student contribution” charged to national and EU students was increased by the government to 3 000 Euros per annum since the 2015-16 academic year;
    • The new national agency, Quality and Qualifications Ireland, has since been established and is now operational. Irish universities are obliged to use this agency for their external institutional reviews.

Organisational autonomy: medium high

Irish universities select, appoint and dismiss executive heads autonomously, and do not need the validation from an external authority. The term of office is set in the law. The composition of the main decision-making body is strictly regulated, with mandatory inclusion of external members whose appointment involves an external authority. Universities are restricted in their capacity to decide on academic structures and create legal entities.

Financial autonomy: medium high

Increasing restrictions apply to the internal allocation of funds received from the annual block grant. Universities may not keep surpluses and are limited in their capacity to borrow money. Universities may own real estate and minor restrictions apply to selling buildings. Universities cannot set the level of fees for national and EU students at Bachelor level, but are free to do so in the other cases.

Academic autonomy: high

Universities decide on the overall student numbers and may select students both at Bachelor and Master levels. Universities can essentially introduce new programmes without prior accreditation. They undergo mandatory institutional accreditation by the national quality agency. They design the content of programmes without constraints and decide on the language of instruction.

Staffing autonomy: medium low

While universities are theoretically free to hire and promote senior academic and administrative staff, the moratorium set as part of the Employment Control Framework continues to apply. Universities have reduced capacity to decide on salaries and dismissals since the government and trade unions established collective agreements.

Organisational weighted 73% unweighted 71%

100

100% Selection procedure for the executive head

The selection of the executive head is not validated by an external authority

100

100% Selection criteria for the executive head

The selection criteria for the executive head are not stated in the law

100

100% Dismissal of the executive head

The procedure for the dismissal of the executive head is not stated in the law

0

0% Term of office of the executive head

The exact length is stated in the law

57

57% External members in university governing bodies

Universities cannot decide as they must include external members

Other appointment process

This applies to 2 other countries: Flanders, North Rhine-Westphalia

80

80% Capacity to decide on academic structures

Other restrictions

This applies to one other country: Serbia

60

60% Capacity to create legal entities

Other restrictions

This applies to 7 other countries: Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden

Financial weighted 63% unweighted 71%

60

60% Length of public funding cycle

60

60% Type of public funding

Block grant with other restrictions

This applies to 4 other countries: Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Poland

80

80% Ability to borrow money

Universities can borrow money up to a maximum percentage

This applies to 4 other countries: Brandenburg, Italy, North Rhine-Westphalia, Slovakia

0

0% Ability to keep surplus

Surplus cannot be kept

This applies to 2 other countries: Lithuania, Serbia

80

80% Ability to own buildings

Universities can sell their buildings with other types of restrictions

This applies to 4 other countries: Finland, Flanders, Latvia, Poland

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at Bachelor level

Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 6 other countries: Croatia, Flanders, France, Wallonia, The Netherlands, Spain

100

100% Tuition fees for national/EU students at Master's level

Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 6 other countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Serbia, United Kingdom

100

100% Tuition fees for national/EU students at doctoral level

Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

100

100% Tuition fees for non-EU students at Bachelor level

Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

100

100% Tuition fees for non-EU students at Master's level

Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

100

100% Tuition fees for non-EU students at doctoral level

Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

Staffing weighted 43% unweighted 42%

67

67% Recruitment procedures for senior academic staff

Other restrictions

67

67% Recruitment procedures for senior administrative staff

Other restrictions

This applies to 4 other countries: Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain

33

33% Salaries for senior academic staff

Salary bands are prescribed by an external authority for all staff

This applies to 4 other countries: France, Hungary, Lithuania, Serbia

Other restrictions

This applies to 4 other countries: Flanders, Hungary, Norway, Poland

33

33% Salaries for senior administrative staff

Salary bands are prescribed by an external authority for all staff

This applies to 4 other countries: Denmark, France, Hungary, Serbia

Other restrictions

This applies to 4 other countries: Flanders, Hungary, Latvia, Poland

20

20% Dismissal of senior academic staff

Dismissals are strictly regulated due to civil servant status for some staff

This applies to 6 other countries: Austria, Brandenburg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Portugal, Serbia

Dismissals are subject to other regulations specific to the sector

This applies to 8 other countries: Austria, Croatia, Flanders, The Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland

20

20% Dismissal of senior administrative staff

Dismissals are strictly regulated due to civil servant status for some staff

This applies to 6 other countries: Austria, Brandenburg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Portugal, Spain

Dismissals are subject to other regulations specific to the sector

This applies to 5 other countries: Austria, Flanders, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Switzerland

29

29% Promotion procedures for senior academic staff

Other restrictions

This applies to 7 other countries: Denmark, France, Wallonia, Hesse, Hungary, Italy, North Rhine-Westphalia

71

71% Promotion procedures for senior administrative staff

Other restrictions

This applies to 9 other countries: Denmark, France, Wallonia, Hesse, Hungary, Italy, North Rhine-Westphalia, Serbia, Slovenia

Academic weighted 89% unweighted 92%

100

100% Overall student numbers

Universities decide independently on the number of study places

This applies to 6 other countries: Estonia, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom

100

100% Admissions procedures at Bachelor level

Admission criteria are set by the university

This applies to 8 other countries: Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, United Kingdom

100

100% Admissions procedures at Master's level

Admission criteria are set by the university

100

100% Introduction of programmes at Bachelor level

Universities can open degree programmes without prior accreditation

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

100

100% Introduction of programmes at Master's level

Universities can open degree programmes without prior accreditation

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

100

100% Introduction of programmes at doctoral level

Universities can open degree programmes without prior accreditation

100

100% Termination of degree programmes

Universities can terminate degree programmes independently

100

100% Language of instruction at Bachelor level

Universities can choose the language of instruction for all programmes

100

100% Language of instruction at Master's level

Universities can choose the language of instruction for all programmes

100

100% Selection of quality assurance mechanisms

Universities cannot select quality assurance mechanisms

0

0% Selection of quality assurance providers

Universities cannot choose the quality assurance agency

100

100% Capacity to design content of degree programmes

Universities can freely design the content of degree programmes and courses (other than for the regulated professions)