Northern Ireland news

Calls for political leaders to adopt RIA recommendations for Derry-centred university

The Derry University Group has called for the RIA report recommendations to be implemented

THERE were calls last night for political leaders on both sides of the border to adopt the recommendations made by a panel of experts on the proposal for a Derry-centred university.

A Royal Irish Academy (RIA) task-force has outlined how university provision can and should be delivered in the north west, citing a "clear need to reduce the regional disparities that still exist in the distribution and availability of tertiary education".

The report, produced by an all-island panel of experts and university leaders convened by the RIA, provides the blueprint for cross-border higher education expansion in the north west. It states that a realignment of the island's resources towards the north west is required.

It recommends establishing a new cross-border body, supported by both governments "to plan future tertiary education, including cross-border provision, in the northwest of the island of Ireland".

The panel further states that, with 80 per cent of the north's higher education students currently located in greater Belfast, a new higher education oversight body for Northern Ireland, should be established by the Executive "as a high priority".

The Derry University Group, which campaigns for the need for an independent university in the north west, last night called for the RIA report recommendations to be implemented. It said the development of university provision in the north west would also regenerate the Derry economy.

A spokesperson said: "Our new generation of public representatives for the first time has the opportunity, the support from London and Dublin, and the roadmap from the Royal Irish Academy, to deliver a new university for the north west and for the island.

"We respectfully ask our leaders to begin this process immediately, by enacting the RIA recommendations as policy within the new programme for government at Stormont and, specifically, that they establish an independent cross-border HE planning body for the north west, and a universities oversight body for the north."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news