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.
- 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% Selection procedure for the executive head
The selection of the executive head is not validated by an external authority
100% Selection criteria for the executive head
The selection criteria for the executive head are not stated in the law
100% Dismissal of the executive head
The procedure for the dismissal of the executive head is not stated in the law
0% Term of office of the executive head
The exact length is stated in the law
57% External members in university governing bodies
Universities cannot decide as they must include external members
This applies to 23 other countries: Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Flanders, France, Wallonia, Hesse, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, North Rhine-Westphalia, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
Other appointment process
80% Capacity to decide on academic structures
This applies to one other country: Serbia