Deficits and staff problems delay Ulster merger

January 17, 1997

College incorporation may be delayed in Northern Ireland.

The five area boards - under threat of amalgamation - have privately warned the province's Department of Education that it cannot be implemented in time.

Two main issues threaten the existing timetable. Ten of the 17 colleges have running deficits. The boards say that if they are to carry the debts into incorporation the money would have to come out of the general schools budget, which would be unacceptable.

There are also severe difficulties over the transfer of undertakings, with a great deal of uncertainty over what will happen to the area board staff who have been serving the further education sector.

An announcement of the delay is expected to be made within the next two weeks. The alarm signal comes as the Government hopes to push through legislation that would give the department sweeping powers over the province's colleges following formal incorporation.

The heavily criticised draft order effectively gives the department control over every aspect of college operations. But the Government could have difficulty in getting the draft through Parliament. The Labour party and the Liberal Democrats are opposed and even the Ulster Unionists are likely to abstain on any vote.

The draft order, which cannot be amended under parliamentary rules, is aimed at bringing further education in the province into line with colleges in England and Wales.

But the Northern Ireland Colleges Consultative Forum and the lecturers' union Natfhe have argued the proposals are more crude and draconian in the province.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns