Increasing the number of students at Derry’s Magee campus of the University of Ulster is “an obvious solution to the high level of demand” for student places in the North, it’s been claimed.
Lobby group U4D says the North has the smallest university sector of any of the UK’s nations and much smaller than Scotland - and Derry has one of the smallest proportions of graduates of any city in the UK or Ireland.
“With so many students seeking university places in Northern Ireland there is an urgent need to increase provision,” says Padraig Canavan, chair of U4D. “Universities bring skills, investment and expertise – all of which is desperately needed in Northern Ireland, but most especially in Derry. Our city will only thrive when it becomes a genuine ‘University City’, with a full size university presence.
“When a substantial expansion in student numbers is placed alongside the regeneration of Derry and its role next year as City of Culture, we can then begin the challenging task of turning Derry round and making it an economic contributor to Northern Ireland, instead of a financial drain on the Executive’s budget. We only wish we could persuade ministers and the Department for Employment and Learning the logic of this, which seems to us only common sense.”
Figures released this morning show that Magee has been allocated an extra 60 places for 2012. U4D says that number is very disappointing. considering the Coleraine campus is getting an extra 110 places.
“We call on the University of Ulster to do much more to facilitate the expansion of student numbers at Magee and to ensure that the courses located in Derry are those that will do most to regenerate the economy of Derry,” said Padraig Canavan.