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Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn)

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Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn)

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Individual higher education institutions have autonomous responsibility for the management of their academic programmes and staff resources. As far as my Department is aware neither Universities nor Institutes of Technology are planning to increase the academic year to a third semester and therefore no estimate is available of any potential savings that might be accrued from implementing such a measure. As indicated to the Deputy previously, under the Croke Park Agreement revised contract hours were agreed for lecturers which has brought about the delivery of in excess of 250,000 extra lecturing hours annually. Based on the most conservative figures for hourly pay rates, the total cost if those extra hours were paid for would be in the order of €21.25 million annually. My Department is continuing to work to ensure that further efficiency measures are achieved within the higher education sector.