Analysis

Amalgamation in the higher education sector

Moving in the right direction

The recent drive for amalgamation in the higher education sector has been prompted by the recommendations of the National Strategy for higher education to 2030 (“The Hunt Report”), published in January 2011.

Context

The recent drive for amalgamation in the higher  education sector has been prompted by the  recommendations of the National Strategy for  higher education to 2030 (“the Hunt Report”),  which was published in January 2011.

The Hunt Report makes recommendations for the future development of the higher education sector in Ireland. Stated objectives for the higher education sector include a reduction in the reliance of the sector on the Exchequer and the consolidation of smaller institutions. Due to the reduced levels of funding available to the higher education sector, extensive cost cutting exercises have been implemented in recent years.

However, in light of the EU/ IMF programme for Ireland, organisations and institutions in the higher education sector now need to consider new approaches to deliver within budget cuts.

Recent amalgamations in the higher education sector include the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, HETAC and FETAC, as authorised under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill, 2011.  University College Cork and the Irish Management Institute have formed a deepening alliance which began in 2009. In September 2011, Tipperary Institute amalgamated with Limerick Institute of Technology.

In November 2011, the Irish government approved the merger of the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology with the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences to create a new joint Council operating under the aegis of the Higher Education Authority.

It is likely that there will be further amalgamations in the higher education sector in the coming months and years. With this in mind, we have set out overleaf the key issues for consideration in advance of any proposed amalgamation.

This publication sets out key drivers for consolidation in the higher education sector and identifies those areas of focus required of any organisation embarking on integration, merger or the creation of a new entity.

It seeks to identify the potential real benefits and cost synergies arising from consolidation and collaboration.  

Amalgamation in the higher education sector
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