QUB chief: We need decisions on higher education funding

Serious decisions need to be taken over the future funding of higher education in Northern Ireland, the vice-chancellor of Queen’s University has said.

The head of Queen’s, Professor Patrick Johnston, told the BBC’s Inside Business programme that a rise in tuition fees, or a return to public funding, was required to bridge a £100m gap.

He told the programme: “We have some very critical decisions as a society to make very, very quickly, because we’re already in trouble.

“We’re bringing corporation tax in 2018, we actually today don’t have the graduates to fill those jobs.

“We have to either come up with a number of solutions, one of which might be the public purse begins to fund the full investment in higher education that is needed, either fees or we have to get back to public funding.”

Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry has warned that the way that higher education is funded in Northern Ireland was “no longer sustainable”.