Sunday 22 January 2017

Generation of future must invest in itself

Achieving high intellectual standards at third level costs money, writes Emer O'Kelly

Published 17/10/2010 | 05:00

PAYBACK TIME FOR GRADUATES: How Garland in the 'Daily Telegraph' sees the debate over student debt.
PAYBACK TIME FOR GRADUATES: How Garland in the 'Daily Telegraph' sees the debate over student debt.

Quite a large percentage of students at university and third-level institutions here admit quite openly that if they had to pay fees for their tuition they would take their education a lot more seriously.

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Most senior academics in our universities, certainly those at presidential and provost level, believe that, for the sake of educational standards, we need to impose fees. And, interestingly, they choose the option of imposing fees rather than no-strings-attached taxpayer grants as a means of further funding, which seems to indicate that they too may believe that fee-paying would concentrate the budding academic mind.

Of course, if fees are re-introduced for Irish students, there will be open warfare: we've all heard that third-level education is "a right". Actually, it's not: it's an intellectual privilege at a university; a piece of far-sighted social policy if it's at a training college where it is aimed at improving vocational skills.

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