Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Questions (856)

Rose Conway-Walsh


856. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if the Cassells report has been sent to the European Commission for review; when he expects the Commission to respond; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21741/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

The development of a sustainable funding model for higher education is essential in light of the centrality of higher education - both in terms of human capital development, research and innovation - to underpinning the future development of Ireland as a knowledge economy against the backdrop of rapid technological change.

In that context, a comprehensive economic evaluation of the funding options presented in the Report of the Expert Group on Future Funding for Higher Education is underway supported under the European Commission DG Reform Programme.

The Department is working closely with the European Commission and the independently appointed consultants. The key aim of this review is to investigate methods of increasing the sustainability of higher and further education provision in Ireland, including an examination of the funding options as set out in the Expert Group’s Report on the Future Funding of Higher Education. The review also will examine the appropriate balance across the tertiary system in meeting Ireland's future skill needs.

The detailed analysis of funding options for higher education and the assessment of the appropriate balance between provision across the tertiary education system is expected to play a very important role in informing Government decision-making in this critical area. It is intended to provide the basis for a national consensus on the appropriate policy approach to future funding which is fundamental to Ireland's economic and social sustainability and progress and the delivery of key policy objectives under key Government priorities set out in the Programme for Government.