GMIT chief denies claims Mayo campus is being downgraded
THE head of GMIT has categorically denied claims that plans are in place to downgrade the Mayo campus now or in the future.
Speaking to The Connaught Telegraph in Castlebar, Dr. Fergal Barry, president of the institute, said steps are being taken to secure the long-term viability of the facility.
He stated that no member of staff will be asked to leave, while replacement courses are being lined up to fill a void created by the loss of five courses at the centre.
Dr. Barry also insisted that the Mayo college's debt of over over €1 million is being tackled, while moves are also afoot to repair the roof and other structural defects in the college buildings. GMIT is also pursuing ring-fenced funding for Mayo which is part of the work of the newly-established working group.
He outlined: “We have come through several tough years during the recession but I am pleased to say that all the indicators are now pointing in the right direction.
“There has been a 33% increase in first preference CAO applications at the Mayo campus for the academic year 2017/18 and we will continue to empower our staff at GMIT Mayo to engage in programme development in relation to the three pillars of enterprise, health and environment.”
A new course being put in place from September, early childhood care and education at level 7, a three-year degree course, has already attracted significant interest from Leaving Cert students through the CAO applications.
A number of other programmes, both undergraduate and post-graduate, have been approved for exclusive delivery to Castlebar.
They include a BA in community sustainability and youth work (level 8), MSc in science in quality and safety in health and social care (level 9), and postgraduate diploma in care of the acutely unwell older adult (level 9).
The necessary restructuring will see some unavoidable staff reassignment at Castlebar in the short term. But all staff impacted will be offered redeployment to Galway or to undertake retraining or redeployment to other areas of the public service.
“We are in discussions with our staff in relation to the future of the GMIT. I am pleased to say that no member of our staff will be asked to leave GMIT and I am confident that we can find a resolution to the current matters at issue through normal channels.
“Our focus now is on the future and on building student numbers and programme provision in Castlebar,” he added.